I am a high school teacher who teaches business and authentic skill building. The last day of school every year is a roller coaster of emotions. There is pushing, pulling, congratulating, thanking, happiness, sadness, failures, and successes.
It all comes to an end in a rush.
Final grades are due with strict deadlines and students who procrastinated are often upset about their lack of effort. Many take it out on their teachers. You have to have thick skin in this business. The blame game goes deep. Hard lessons are learned by those who barely showed effort. They are mad. They are disappointed in themselves. They project this onto their peers and teachers. It is a sad sight to see. But it is necessary to learn the lesson.
We have to remember that learning is hard work.
For the students who understand how to manage time and focus, it is a great day. There is time for celebration. There is time to relax and soak up the events of the last day in with their friends. They smile and laugh and enjoy the day. They tried. They figured out that they are in charge of learning. They are the ones who own their future. This is the fun part about the last day. It really is joyful.
The Thank You notes always make me cry.
Occasionally I get some thank you notes on the last day of school. Every one of them makes me cry. Cards have words and thoughts from students that are amazing. Most students have a great poker face during the year and the cards tell you how they learned and what they really appreciated. Students mention how they will not forget the lessons taught in class. I keep every card I get as a reminder on my darkest days in teaching to remind me why I do what I do.
The Choice to learn is ALWAYS up to the learner
In the end, the choices made by the student are really the only thing that matters. During the school year, I encourage, mentor, coach, and become an accountability partner for 180 days. I set a goal for myself and students years ago to never give less that 100% each day. While it is impossible to attain, I sleep well at night knowing I give everyone the chance to succeed and learn in class.
I hand out winning lottery tickets, the students just have to cash them in.
I love it when they do. I hope they learn the lesson when they don’t. At the end of the school year, the world awaits them. It’s real. It’s harsh. It’s unforgiving. I hope they learn the authentic lessons I have provided them with.
Creator of Disrupt Education
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