I’ve spent the last couple of nights at awards banquets. I’ve watched a lot of graduating seniors get a lot of cool awards and finally get some much deserved recognition as students, leaders, and athletes.  I’ve spent the last couple of days signing yearbooks and explaining to seniors that I’m not going to Grad Night because I don’t really want to and I’m not going to the senior picnic because I have to give finals to my other students who don’t get to close out the year with fun activities.  They remember the feeling.

Around this time of year I start thinking a lot about next year.  I’m worn out, my students are worn out and my class isn’t humming along like we were in November.  I start to forget the good and start trying to think of ways to remedy the bad that has reared its ugly head down the homestretch.  I think this is good for me.  This year I have pages and pages of ideas for next year, and I’ll be more prepared than ever when next year starts.

But tonight I’m reminded that it’s important to focus on the now a little bit too.  My seniors are done with AP Exams and Finals.  The stress of content and grades is gone and finally we can interact without worrying about what we need to get finished or what we can be doing better.  And I’m reminded that my students really like me.  They want me around, they want me at events, they want me to write something profound in their yearbooks and they want me to congratulate them for everything they’ve made it through.

Tonight I can’t help but think of how absent many of these positive vibes and feelings can be in the middle of the grind as we try to meet all my curriculum goals and their desires to pass my class and score well on AP Exams.  And I know why it happens.  It’s pressure, stress, and fear that we will fail each other somewhere along the way.

I doubt it can be avoided, but I can’t help but think there are ways to remedy it a bit.  I’d like to think that throughout the year there have to be ways for my students and I to take a step back, remind ourselves that we like each other, and remind ourselves that this journey we are on together isn’t all about work and results.  It’s also about getting to know each other, learning from each other, enjoying ourselves, and growing as people.  And maybe even acknowledging that we’re having a pretty good time doing it.