This week I was able to go back to my classroom for a short time. Take things off the walls, put away personal items, clean off my desk. Basically, the process of closing things up for summer.
Typically, this day happens in late May and is followed by a celebration with colleagues at a local restaurant. We congratulate each other on making it through the school year. We talk about plans for the summer. Not this time…
The building was empty, quiet. Only a few teachers are allowed in at the same time to work. The only sounds came from the precious workers in the cafeteria, busy preparing the food being distributed to our families.
My daughter, Rachel, went with me to help. Both of us wearing face masks. It didn’t take us long to get things packed away. I only had two small boxes to carry home-some personal piano music and my Freddie the Frog puppet.
The final step was turning in my keys. This action usually comes with a sigh of relief. A pause in responsibility, allowing rest after a hard year’s work. Not so much.
Once we were back home, I found myself feeling grumpy and irritable. I tried reading a little. I had a zoom meeting with my team-our last official one of this year. Everything just felt strange.
Maybe a nap would help. Clear my head, at least. It did not completely change my mood, but it did allow some perspective.
It’s no surprise I was feeling strange! This is not how the school year is supposed to end. It is supposed to end with celebrations, hugs, goodbyes, and even a few tears. Those things will not happen.
I was missing that “Hooray for summer!” time with colleagues because I missed the “Hooray for summer!” time with students.
My classroom is empty. Ready for a fresh start. Hopefully, that fresh start begins with a happy, “Welcome back!”