Last week was pre-planning week and I’ve had some momentary lapses in productivity. So here it goes my thoughts that I choose to save until the first day of school to post:
Can you have Empty Nest Syndrome for kids that aren’t yours?
Two weeks ago, I was in a professional development training that taught us a new/another teaching strategy. As I like to learn new strategies with my students in mind, some familiar student faces kept popping into my head.
Cut to pre-planning week: As I sat in my classroom this morning for a couple of minutes before a meeting, I tried to gather what needed to be done in the room before school starts next week:
- Organize papers on front desk
- Find an extra table (my classroom is set up in tables rather than desks and not all of my tables were returned after cleaning this year)
- Organize the school supplies I have bought in my classroom cabinet.
- Organize the pasta bowls and cans that I’ve bought for my classroom in the “food” cabinet.
And that last one made me think of those same kids I thought of during my professional development. They were the kids that I was so used to and comfortable with that they just came in and got what they needed. They’d just walk in, sit down and start talking about their day to me. Or they’d just come in and go to the food cabinet and take a microwavable bowl of pasta and just heat it up. It was a process four years in the making. I had known those students for the past four years at the high school I teach at and I’ve never worked at this school when they weren’t there. They didn’t have to ask for the food anymore, but they always said thank you. They didn’t need to tell me they were having a bad day, I saw it on their faces.
And all I could think about was “who’s going to eat this food?”
I mean… I could eat it. I always buy it with the thought of having it in case I forget my lunch one or two days. But really, I know I’m not going to eat it, it’s always there for the hungry students that visit on the regular. I buy them with coupons and BOGO free sales so it doesn’t break the bank that I’m not actually eating them.
Are there students that are still at the school that will take care of eating that food? Sure. Heck, I can even think of certain students now. But am I still irrational? You bet. With so many changes happening at my school this year (new admin, new Common Core techniques, new construction starting), the fact that those students will not be there is the change that I’ll have to work with the most. I know I’ll have people to help me with new Common Core techniques, and my new admin are very open to questions and conversations (I ask a lot of questions.. I’m sure you’re shocked.) And construction is a necessary thing to deal with that shouldn’t be hard.
I know it’ll be fine. I know that next year will be full of students that fill that space and eat all my food (haha). It’s just the prospect of newness that’s scary. Can I create that kind of bond with new students all the time? Was it a fluke this time? Am I a 6th year teacher asking a 1st year teacher question?
But I’m okay with that.
Addition as of today: Today is the first day of school and three of those students who graduated texted/facebooked/emailed me “good luck”s this morning.