Reflections on the end of the school year

There are so many things I love about my job. Sharing time with wonderful colleagues, getting to talk about topics I find endlessly fascinating and the way that the pattern of the school year marks time in such a special way are all high on the list. What I love about my job more than anything else, however, is the opportunity to work with young people and watch them thrive, develop and grow. My life is made richer every day by the special young minds that I get to share my days with.

Saying goodbye at the end of the year is always hard because the relationships that are formed in the classroom really do mean something. Every year when the time comes to say goodbye to my senior classes I shed more than a few tears of farewell. This year is something like my 17th in the teaching profession and I still remember many of the students I taught in my first year and have taught since. I am still in touch with many of those I have worked with over the years and always love to hear their news and hear other news through the grapevine. Every class I have taught and every individual student has shaped me into who I am today. I am so grateful to have been given this gift to be always learning for I have learnt far more from my students than I could ever hope to teach them.

From my students I have learned how to really listen, how to communicate more effectively and how to be resilient. I have learned to be more patient, more kind and to not take myself so seriously. Perhaps most importantly, I have learned to be braver, to reveal my authentic self in my work rather than ‘acting’ like a teacher.

Here in New Zealand, teachers are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the school year comes to an end and the long summer break offers an opportunity for relaxation and rejuvenation alongside reflection, revision of resources, renovation of wall displays and rewriting units of work. I know that my colleagues ‘up North’ are also desperately willing the end of the term to arrive. Teachers are always grateful to see the holidays and to take a break from the classroom routine but most of us do this job because we genuinely feel a call to be part of something special – to spend time with children and young people on their learning journey and continue on the pathway that marks out our own. For many of us teaching is a vocation and not just a job x

Wishing all teaching colleagues and any of my former students who are reading this – a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday!

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