The end of the school year is a natural time where we all seem to step back and reflect on the growth of our children and/or the children we teach.
I'm always amazed at how much children can grow in 9 months (Sept.-May). It may be as simple as learning to zip their coat or learning to be away from mom or dad for a few hours or as complex as learning to divide fractions or learning how to study for tests. No matter how major or minor the growth is, it's still important to acknowledge and celebrate.
As a teacher, I often find this time of year bittersweet. I so enjoy the time I spend with these young people and it can be hard to say good-bye when the school year comes to a close. However, when I look back over the year I can't help but feel such a sense of pride for all of my students. They have grown so much! I also grow tremendously every year as a teacher. With every group of children and parents I spend time with I learn a little something and take that with me into my future teachings.
As I see my own children complete a year in school, I sit back and just wonder where the time is going. It can be so easy to get hung up on the sadness of leaving these stages of time, but it can also be exciting to see all that they are accomplishing. I often have to remind myself that this is one of the most rewarding parts of raising children: watching them become so independent and capable.
Talk to your children (your own or your students) about how much they've grown this year.
- "Remember when you were first learning how to read in fall and all those letters looked so confusing. Now look what you're doing! You worked so hard all year on this. You should be so proud of yourself!"
- "Remember when you didn't know how to do the monkey bars, but you wanted to so bad? You spent so much time looking at them and attempting them. After so much determination and growing, you can do it now."
- "Remember at the beginning of school you didn't want me to leave you? Now you don't even notice me when I come to get you!"
- "Remember at the beginning of the year how you needed reminders to stay organized with your homework and by the end you were doing this all on your own!"
Do this with yourself as well...we sometimes really need this as parents and teachers. We can be so hard on ourselves. Try to focus on what has gone well and then gradually begin to form goals for yourself for growth.
Most of all, enjoy the time you have with your children (your own and/or the children you teach) whether it's the first day of school or the last, or they're 11 months old or 11 years old. The time goes by fast...