It's that time again--the end of a semester. Along with the final papers and the final exams come the final grades. Some students will be happy; some will not. And, no matter how often I remind them that they earn their grades, I will have a few outraged, unhappy students. Oh, well. One of these semesters, probably the one where I retire, I'll get a whole group of students who "get it."
I both love and hate semester's end. I love it because I get a break from constant paper-grading and student kvetching, committee and faculty meetings, night classes, etc. While I'm in the middle of it, I'm fine. But when the end comes, I'm so ready for it. I always say I'm going to take a day to sleep, but I usually get antsy because of inactivity. I'm used to go, go, going, all the time--teaching, working my part time bookstore job, editing interviews for a local museum, painting windows for my sisters in Houston; I have difficulty slowing down. All that will change is the teaching and grading of papers. The rest will still need to be done, and I'll add some other projects--I'm in the middle of knitting socks, a sweater--and I've got a stack of books I want to read. And I need to finish unpacking and moving the rest of my "stuff" from my former house. So the summer will be full, even without school.
I hate the end of the semester, though. I have so many papers to grade and grades to average and post. But I hate that I'm "losing" my students. I've grown fond of most of them and some of them have had such difficult semesters that I worry about them. I hope they'll keep in touch, but they don't always. I can honestly say that I have a few former students who are friends of mine; they keep me posted on what's happening in their lives long after they leave my classes. I'm proud of the ones who have graduated and wish them the best. I hope I've helped them in some small way. I know they've helped me become better at what I do--my students "force" me to be a better teacher.
So, ciao to all my students. And ciao to the ones I'll meet in the fall. I hope we all have a restful and pleasant summer.