This week is the last for our seniors, which can be a nostalgic time for everyone involved – students, parents and teachers alike. It’s an especially nostalgic time for me, as this year I’m saying farewell to the students who were in my very first classes at my current school. They’re a special group of kids for that very reason – they’re the first I’ve seen from beginning to end.
While this time of year can be so joyful, it can also be a struggle for teachers who are feeling the pressure of end-of-year exams, evaluations, grade disputes, classroom cleanup, trying to behavior manage squirrely kids, and just the general end-of-year exhaustion that always seems to hit in May. I know that, try as I might, my fuse has been a little shorter than I would like and I haven’t always demonstrated the kind of positive attitude I encourage my students to have in the face of a struggle. I’ve found myself feeling really, really eager to just be done with it already, to have a chance to recharge my batteries.
But today as I bid farewell to an oustanding student, she handed me a gift – and with it, a reminder of something that is far too easy to forget.
Teachers, you are an anchor. You are a constant in the midst of what can be a crazy and tumultous environment. You offer the kind of strength, stability and security that kids need in order to navigate the mess that is adolescence. Like an anchor, your presence is noticed, and it’s missed when you’re not there. Like an anchor, your strength is felt within the four walls of your classroom (how else could you get 25+ kids to pay attention to you all at the same time?!). And like an anchor, you provide enough stability for your students to withstand all of those outside forces that would seek to overwhelm them. And, as any boater knows, the anchor is necessary, and so are you.
Though the winds may be strong and the current quick and unyielding, the anchor remains steadfast and unmoved. Hang in there, teachers, and be that anchor that keeps your students grounded in the hustle and bustle that comes at the end of the school year; for some of them, you’re the only anchor they have.