The end of the semester is that time in which we all have to face the semester as it is, and it typically falls short of the semester as we hoped it would be. From where I sit as a teacher, I worry that my students didn’t learn enough, that I didn’t push them hard enough, and that I didn’t connect with them enough. Now we have only two weeks left, and I can’t hold onto some vast sweeping vision of how this semester will be. The semester is nearly over, and it is what it is.
This isn’t my favorite time. I prefer possibilities to certainties, and I have a tendency to look at myself and everyone around me and decide that none of us measure up. I also tend to slide into a pit of hopelessness. What difference does it make what I do now? The party is nearly over. So this semester, I’m trying to remind myself that it makes a great deal of difference — at least as much difference as at the start of the semester. I can still help students move as far as they can in two weeks. I can still connect with students in a way that enables us both the learn something.
And in some ways the end of the semester is great. I’m more relaxed with the students and I know them much better. I’m not so eager to control everything, and I’m more likely to simply accept things as they are. So my task in these last couple of weeks is to remember that my vision is about connection and helping students to move forward, and to not chicken out on that vision just because I’m not perfect. I can take advantage of the good parts of energy that comes at the end of the semester, and not use it to beat myself up and act like a brat about my work.