For many years, when I was a teacher and the month of May rolled around, the end of the school year would feel like a surprise. What once seemed like a tremendous length of time was now only a few weeks long. Earlier in the year, I had to plan extensively to fill each class period. Now, there was too much to do and not enough time to do it. The once lengthy year was over too quickly.
I remember vacations I did not want to ever end, or conversations, concerts, a sunset over the Caldera in Santorini, Greece. I felt this moment might never come again and I wanted to hold on tightly. Or I felt I had missed something, or I preferred where I was to where I was going next.
Understanding the passage of time and ending anything, whether it be the school or a calendar year, a project, a vacation, or a job can be difficult, painful ⎼or exciting. Just saying the word ‘ending’ can sound dramatic and consequential.
We might like what we are doing and not want to let it go. We might resist what is new because it is threatening or scary or maybe something from the past is still calling us. Or it might be difficult to accept the end because we never fully grasped or embraced the beginning. To begin something new we need to let go of something old.
Compassion Can Transform the Energy of Stress into Helpful Action
A school year or a work project is never just about the work. Relationships are formed. A community, maybe a family, is created. When the work is completed, the community ceases. This must be recognized, reflected upon, celebrated. The other people must be honored. After all, you came together, learned together, struggled through time and tasks together, and hopefully cared for each other. You pay a price if you forget this basic fact.
The fact of this community ending is part of the stress you feel. Some years, I created interactive final demonstrations for certain classes. For example, students had to discuss, in a small group, pre-selected essential questions related to the class subject matter and then answer follow-up questions posed by other teachers and university professors. We did this at my home or at night at the school, so we did the work and then shared a meal. Years afterwards, former students have told me they remembered the event and had found it meaningful….
To read the whole post, please go to MindfulTeachers.org.