Special events disrupt the regular routine and I realize that it throws off some students who thrive on predictable schedules. However, I felt it was important to have some sort of ceremony for certain groups, for several reasons.
A) For some, it's the end of an era
For many of our Grade 8 students, the only school they've ever attended was ours. That's ten years of classes and teachers. Bonds are formed and it's important to acknowledge all the growth that's occurred. For the last week of school, I made a point of bringing in my personal school scrapbooks and allowing the graduates to come during recess to peruse the pictures and reminisce. (Monday was their earliest years, Tuesday was Grades 1-3, Wednesday was Grades 4-6, and Thursday was their intermediate division time.) It was nice to see so many students drop in and exclaim over past events and fellow students.
B) Good work deserves recognition
The Student Council worked very hard this year to organized Spirit Days, Candygram fundraisers, and other various initiatives. Sometimes, hard work and effort goes unnoticed. I couldn't have that happen for this great group of kids that I've written about in the past. The council members designed iron-on badges and after our party (which consisted of a pot-luck snack-fest and spirited game of "Ghost in the Graveyard"), they brought their school t-shirts to add this badge of honour to their clothes, to commemorate all the great things they were part of this year. Half of the council's members won't be at our school next year, and I hope that next year's group will be just as enthusiastic as this one.
C) It's important to have fun
Not all my clubs are glamorous. Library helpers face a never-ending pile of books to shelve, and re-shelve, and shelves to organize and tidy repeatedly. However, the benefits hopefully outweigh the drudgery. Every year, we have an end-of-the-year party, co-planned with the Library Helper Student Administration. This year, I catered their lunch with lo mein and then we played Sticker Tag in the library. The graduating Library Helpers received a gift card, and it looks like everyone had a great time. (I was covered with 54 stickers by the end of the match, so part of the joy involved covering their teacher with stickers!) Many helpers will continue to be a part of the Library Club because they like to help AND they have fond memories of the fun we had at events like this.
Thanks to all the students, staff, and volunteers that made the 2014-15 school year a memorable one for me. Enjoy your summer and I'll continue to blog over the summer, reflecting on my summer school teaching experience and musing on my learning from this past year.