On the end of the school year

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

By the time this story makes it into newsprint and the hands of our readers, I’ll be neck-deep in the final two days of school.

I am blessed to be able to split my workweek into multiple parts, pursuing different passions in the process. One of those passions is teaching, which I do as a paraprofessional in first, second and third grades in our local school district two days a week.

A chalk art collaboration between the author and one of her students. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

The end of the school year still holds the same feelings of excitement and sadness that it did when I was a student. Those feelings are accompanied by the same smells: wet grass, the last pizza lunch, emptying the pencil sharpener. I remember writing my home phone number on scraps of old spelling assignments and passing them out to my classmates. I remember pushing my small backpack to its limits with papers, projects and long-forgotten winter clothes from the back of my cubby. I remember getting on the bus after the last day of school, convinced that September was only weeks ago and there’s no way I’d just completed an entire grade.

I see these scenes play out with my own students, but with the added awareness that summer break will bring many changes to some of their lives. A first-grader, finally comfortable with her quirky sense of humor and confident in her unparalleled ability to draw, will move away this summer. A second-grader will miss her favorite teacher next year as he takes on a different position in the district. Third-graders, on the top of the food chain at this end of the hall, will soon be the youngsters in their new homeroom classrooms.

The very nature of education — to grow, to change, to move ahead — is at odds with the comfort and security we aim to foster in our students all year long. In June we are all mother birds, pushing their chicks out of the nest. We know we have to, but — at least for me, as a very young and inexperienced teacher’s aide with no children of her own at home — it is not easy.

So, if you’re reading this, I’m soaking up every moment of the last two days of school. I am setting the intention to be present for every question, comment and unprompted joke or riddle. I am probably being gifted random sketches and coloring pages — as is the case every week — and I am collecting every single one, making sure they each attach an “artist signature” before they hand it to me. I am loving every minute until that last bell rings and three months of summer vacation begin.

Of course, the truth is that we all need a break — the full-time teachers, especially.

Society shouts platitudes all year long that teachers are incredible, caring and important. The truth is that there is no adequate word for what teachers do for our community. I watch the teachers I work with dedicate their lives to making sure children grow to be kind and thoughtful people who will contribute to our world in unique and powerful ways. This is detailed, exhausting and sometimes demoralizing work. It is also (as I have come to learn in my own, small way) the most rewarding thing a person can do.

Teachers are heroes. At the end of the school year, I hope we can all remember that.

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.