Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May Day

April, Poetry Month, is over.  As always, it ended up being such a busy month that I didn't have time to savor all the fabulous poetry-related projects going on in blog-land, and barely even got to finish reading the Poetry Friday posts each week.  I traveled to the IRA conference in San Antonio (and still haven't organized myself enough to write a post on the sessions I attended).

We have the day off from school today, because here in Haiti, as in many places around the world, May 1st is Labor Day.  I have spent most of the day working on my talks for the Eighth Grade Retreat we're having this coming weekend.  I've been thinking about what I want to say to these kids, looking at photos of them from their middle school years, and reflecting on how far they have come since I first started teaching them.  May is an ending; our school year goes on a little bit into June, but graduation is at the end of May, and everything is winding down into the summer pretty much from here on out.

Probably other middle school teachers will understand me when I say that spring in eighth grade is a challenging time.  It's a little bit like teaching seniors; you are wanting to maximize your time with them, to teach them all the things you know they're going to need next year, and yet in some ways you're ready to say goodbye to them.  They've become restless, ready to move on.  Some days they feel hostile from my vantage point in the front of the room, so different from those little kids who first entered my room at the beginning of seventh grade.  They tolerate middle school now, but they are made for bigger things, their attitude conveys.  These small desks can no longer contain the people they are.

So it's May, and another school year is almost history.  This has been a difficult year in some ways, mostly unbloggable, and I'm ready for the summer to come.  But I want to be present in this last month of school, focused on the task at hand, enjoying the people in my room each day. 

1 comment:

Linda B said...

Sweet & thoughtful, Ruth. I taught middle school for a long, long time, & both loved & disliked these final weeks-lots of goodbyes, poignant & yet okay. You described it exactly. I always laminated a poem for my 8th graders, a way to share some feelings with them at this ending. I like you telling that you spoke to them. We have a Continuation ceremony so I only spoke to the group, but to the individuals, in a letter only. Best wishes during this good time!