Another June, another school year coming to a close, and another set of good-byes. No matter how many times a teacher experiences the emotions of June and its inevitable good-byes, it never seems to get any easier or more routine. Each September we are delivered a fresh batch of unknown children. Each grows and changes, often in dramatic and surprising ways in the short time they are ours. And then each June the special, and now cherished ones must be passed on to the next teacher.
The challenge each year remains the same, and is similar to the challenges faced by every parent, except played out in speeded up time. To be effective, the teacher must each year open him/herself fully, and unreservedly commit to his or her new students, despite the fact that June and the time for parting and farewells always looms just around the bend. A parent, too, must regularly find the same delicate balance between connecting and releasing, holding and letting go.
So what are the lessons learned from years of this practice of opening oneself fully each September knowing that the day of parting will soon arrive? How does one, with an open heart, face the beginning with the ending looming just around the corner? For me, I must regularly remind myself of what is most important. It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of each day, with its deadlines and obligations, and lose sight of what it's all about. In the beginning, as at the end, the only thing one does that endures and continues after the parting of June is the love that we have shared along the way. It is the love and affection from teacher to student and from student to teacher that endures and continues to live on, long after the school lessons and experiences can barely be recalled.
And so this June, as each June, we prepare to say good-bye to our good friends. With open arms and the inevitable flavor of grief and loss, we wish them well. There will for sure come a day when it is a challenge to recall each other's names, but we will never forget the love and friendship that we have shared along the way.
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