This is the last week of the semester; in a few moments I will go to my last class. The holiday parties have started today – profs treating students, students bringing treats (I recognize some of this a mutual bribing by way of evaluations and grades, but some of it is genuine fondness for one another. I’m grateful for that). I have had the sweetness of several students telling me today that one or another of my classes has been their favorite. Cynical me wonders if they are buttering me up, or if I perhaps did not push them hard enough. But mostly I enjoy hearing it. They don’t have to say it. It’s nice to be appreciated.
While I look forward to a break from the never ending drill of prep, presentation, grading, sprinkled generously throughout with shoddy student work and bogus student excuses, the truth is I mourn the end of every semester. When I first started teaching I was totally unprepared for what happens at the end of the term, and happens hard at the end of the academic year – they leave. I try hard to model what some of my favorite profs (undergrad and graduate school) did very skillfully – creating an atmosphere of community while doing hard work. I hope I succeed at it as far as students are concerned; as for me, I miss the heck out of them once classes end. Add to that the fact that in this part of the country, the sun ceases to shine round about October and only emerges again to a consistent degree in late March or April. No students and no sun? Double ugh.
Off to class.
p.s. – Just because I’m writing this sappy post about missing students etc now doesn’t mean I reserve the right to gnash my teeth and say bad words when I’m grading their papers next week. Just saying.