It may not exactly be mid-summer (and in Scandinavia that was actually June 21), but July Fourth seems to be the day that I finally say good-bye to last year's classes and start looking forward to next year's.
Saying good-bye. This is sometimes the hardest part of teaching. The beauty of small (<20) and sometimes very small (<10!) class sizes is that each class becomes a small community of its own. In fact, many of my classes have referred to themselves as a family, like the 'Block 4 Families' that have coalesced these past two years. Teaching and learning in such a tight group is an amazing experience for all of us. This year on the last day of class, the last block of the day, my very small block 4 did not want to disband. We knew that the moment the first student left the class, the magic would be gone. We stood in a circle and waited...
Yes, someone finally had to leave, but no one wanted to be the first. Block 4 was a blessing.
(As with so many other Block X Families over the years, but this year even more so.)
Looking forward. The summer emails just went out to my future students. The teaching wheel starts rolling. Sometimes I look at those people who do not have school-related jobs and wonder what it would be like to have their year-round schedule. They can take vacations in September (!) and they can even have free weekends in the fall (I'm a cross country coach), but will they ever experience that excited, first-day-of-school (or practice) feeling that comes with teaching and coaching?
Other post-7/4 questions start to rattle around in my brain. Will my next year's classes/team learn to work together and with me? Will I find new ways to present chemistry to make the classroom better for my students and to keep teaching interesting? Which of my students/athletes will attain the badge of legend? ("Legends" are those characters who for better or worse, usually worse, become part of my many stories of teaching.) Which block, if any, will transform into a Block 4?
So tonight we watch the fireworks over a lake in northern Michigan. As far away from my classroom in time and spirit as I will be this summer. But tomorrow starts the slide toward the new school year. The cycle begins again.