Yes, it's that time of year again!! Every year I struggle with the end of they year! Don't get me wrong, I am as excited as the next teacher (and student and parent!) about having a break. I long for coffee on the porch in the morning with nothing to read but a good book. Having evenings with no papers to look over, no checklists for mastery, no standards-reteaching or standards-reassessment lists, no grades to upload, and no sticky notes plastering the top of my laptop will be wonderful!
All of this, however, comes with a price...I have to "pay up" by letting go, by giving back, by sending on, by releasing these wicked-smart darlings to fly on to 4th grade - and that is HARD to do. Why? Certainly not because they aren't prepared from an academic perspective - they are! Certainly not because they aren't ready from a maturity or emotional standpoint, because they have grown and matured so very much this year!
So, if I have so much faith in their ability to handle 4th grade, why is sending them on difficult? It's because of the bonds and relationships we have forged this year. I liken letting go to finishing a great book - we want to see how it ends, but sometimes we really do NOT want it to end. We want the characters to live on because we've spent so much time getting to know them. A really gifted author will create characters that do remain in our hearts long after we've closed the book and place it back on the shelf - or returned it to the library (yes, there is my shameless plug for utilizing your local library). Similarly, my students have written on my heart with indelible ink - each leaving behind a mark truly unique and unforgettable.
The following letter is based on one I found that was credited to "author unknown." I changed it slightly, but it truly comes from my heart:
I give you back your child, the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature than he was then. Although she would have attained her growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch her personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.
I give him back reluctantly, for having spent nine months together in the narrow confines of a crowded classroom, we have grown close, have become a part of each other, and we shall always retain a little of each other. Ten years from now if we met on the street, your child and I, a light will shine to our eyes, a smile to our lips, and we shall feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today. We have lived, loved, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him back I must. Take care of him, for he is precious.
Remember that I shall always be interested in your child and her destiny, wherever she goes, whatever she does, whomever she becomes. His joys and sorrows I’ll be happy to share. I shall always be his friend.
It has been my privilege to be in partnership with you and your child this year as he journeyed through 3rd grade! Have a wonderful and restful summer!
A wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, lifelong learner, educator