An empty shell


Today I will finish packing up my classroom for the summer.  All of the books are off the shelves, all of the kids’ art is off the walls. The cubbies have been emptied and cleaned.  The desks have been pushed into the center of the room and the calendars are taken down.  It looks like the inside of an empty shell.  Colorless. Lifeless.

I feel very much the same way inside.  I spent all year giving it everything.  I poured my thoughts into my lessons, making sure that I found a way to reach all types of learners. Does this history lesson have enough of a hands on portion? Did I remember to take out the math visuals for the struggling group? I searched on line for new pictures, diagrams, websites, videos to help me teach about the Revolution, the digestive system or the food web of the forest.  I spent time looking over the homework to find patterns about who needed to review what, and who needed more challenging math (which was a huge challenge for ME!).

I gave my heart and my emotions to help the kids feel safe and valued and happy.  I spent so much time every day helping them to manage conflicts, to talk over their feelings of competition, to show them how to take turns without frustration.   I modeled and demonstrated and facilitated until I thought my head would explode. I guided, I shaped, I anticipated problems and moved seats and kept reviewing the classroom expectations.  And for the most part, I did it with patience and outward calm.

Now the year is over.   I have nothing left to plan or organize or file or copy or correct.  I no longer have to agonize over who is mad, who is feeling hyper, and who is anxious about what. No tests to write.  No games to play.  No “Alibi”, no “News Report”, no morning pledge.  I am home, on the couch, feet up, coffee in hand.

It is a strange feeling.  I feel light, airy, cleaned out.  I feel hollow and echoing.  Like an empty shell.

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