up in smoke
June 12, 2012
Madness. A day of madness. Guess that’s to be expected for the last day of school, when that last day involves major goodbyes, packing up classrooms, packing up rooms, and readying for international travel. But in the midst of that, I had a moment of sheer pleasure this evening. Cleaning out my student’s papers, I took it all to the annual “burn pile.” I was the first one to it, and I literally jumped up and down with the giggle-worthy joy of it as I got the flames roaring. I’m afraid I may have been a bit inappropriately enthusiastic, in fact, considering cultural norms and the fact that I was the only female there. But at this point, I just didn’t have it in me to worry enough to corral my emotions: it was gratifying, to say the least, to see one large chunk of work go up in smoke. Ironic, really, considering the amount of time and energy that went into those papers. But no matter. The year is over, and it is time to move on to the next phase of things. Time to recuperate, in the form of travel, friends, and family, for the next 2 months. Time to clear out, clean up, and carry on.
Part of this last day involved an awards ceremony, in which we all gave our “best,” “most improved,” and other certificates, according to individual preference. I got to recognize my top students, as well as one who started out way behind and ended up, due to sheer hard work and interest, with one of the high grades in the class. This ceremony also involved goodbyes. Those teachers who were leaving said their teary farewells to the students. And those of us who are staying reflected on the ways that what we have learned this time around will serve us as we embark upon the next year of life as we know it in this land of certain uncertainties . . .