The last three months of school before summer break are always a little daunting for teachers and often evoke the attitude that you have to “just make it through.” It’s a mad dash that demands an intimidating level of focus and never-ending hustle. You count down the days, you treat the weekends like refuge from the impending chaos and you hold on for dear life hoping and praying that you’ll avoid burn out before the bliss of July arrives. And so, you can imagine that amidst all of the madness it becomes rather difficult to be present, to be content with exactly where you are and to just experience what’s unfolding before you.
I have thought about these last three months all year because finally my students are graduating and I am finding it to be far more bitter than sweet. I can hardly wait for them to enter into this exciting new chapter in their extraordinary lives, for some to be humbled by how little they know and others to finally find the confidence they always had within and flourish. But selfishly, I also want to hold them close to me, to protect them from the unknown and keep them young for as long as possible. I’ve sat with many of them over the last months while they’ve discussed their futures with delight and sometimes dread, with wonder and worry. Like so many of us did at that turning point, they feel that they have to have it all figured out as if their lives are a story that’s already been written. My advice is always to be kind to themselves and to others as they venture into this unknown place. To be mindful that the path is rarely effortless but will likely require a lot of work, the kind of work worth doing. That this life is not about what you do, how much you make or who you know, but rather a journey of discovering your true self and sharing that with all who are lucky enough to know you.
At Homework Club, I will so miss the familiarity of faces, personalities and little quirks. The casual conversation about boys and books and everything in between. The endless hours of scholarship and application editing where I had the great privilege to dive into the depths of who these young people really are. I keep thinking that this might be the last time I get to have a moment of meaning with some of them before they get caught up in finals and graduating and ensuing celebrations. It’s hard to know when things are really ending and what the right words are to express someone’s meaning in your life. I suppose amidst the impending chaos that all I can do is be present and content with exactly where we are and to just experience those moments unfold before me.
~ Katie Simonson
Homework Club Co-Facilitator