Say a kind goodbye to the class of 2014-15
On the last day, we come to school with a song in our hearts. The past 11 months seem grim and grey compared to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of August that lie ahead. How tempting it is for a teacher – particularly one who has suffered the class from hell for three long terms – to celebrate the end of the academic year too early. How easy it is to appear overjoyed at never again having to do battle for the class of 2014-15’s collective soul of learning.
Whatever we feel in our hearts, however, we must not allow our pupils to know the truth. The children should have no idea just how mightily relieved we are to be rid of them at last. Even the ones who caused our hearts to soar when they failed to arrive for morning registration – and grow heavy again when they loomed late in the doorway with a look of determination to make up for lost time – should leave feeling that they are part of a collective that was always valued.
The rule is not to let your class see you (metaphorically or literally) punching the air as you bid them farewell. Over the past year, you have seen some of these children more than their parents or carers have. You have been their guiding light, their fixed star and the rock upon which their nascent sense of self-worth has been tenuously founded. Think of the devastation you might cause if their attachment to you were to be shattered by the seismic revelation that you are overcome with delight at never having to teach them again.
By all means say your goodbyes with a song in your heart. But let it not be a wild and reckless rendition of Alice Cooper’s School’s Out. Now is not the time to risk undermining your professional credibility by appearing uncaring. Rather, it is a time for subtlety and cleverness. Figuratively speaking, let your final classroom performance be a heartfelt rendition of So Long, Farewell, as you watch them disappear one by one into someone else’s future.
Read the full feature in the 3 July issue of TES. You can read it on your tablet or phone, or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.