end of the year feelings

We have three weeks left of school. I started the year by writing a letter to my students, and I will end the year with a letter, too. A draft of a poem came to me the other night and I typed it up this morning. It will likely go through more editing before I give it to them, but I'm sharing it's current state here, for memory's sake or for anyone who wants or needs to be reminded about 6th grade moments.


June 2019

Dear 6th graders, soon-to-be 7th graders,

This has been a long and challenging year. My dad died, I started at a new school, woke up way too early every day and had more students than I’ve ever had before. I’m figuring out a curriculum that’s not always my favorite, trying to balance meeting our needs with teaching what I’m “supposed” to teach but also wanting us to get to deeper, more beautiful work. It wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t perfect, but we made our way through the year. I will take all that we’ve learned together and I will and start again next year. Thank you for working with me and for teaching me. I was reflecting on the year and I wrote you the poem below.

Please know you can always write me and tell me how life is going. I’ll always be glad to hear from you: {email address}

Please stay curious and keep investigating and being yourselves and loving what you love and sharing it with others.

lots of love,

ms. { }

what’s beautiful to me (in 6th grade)

what is beautiful to me is that

each class begins in its own way

settles in and catches up and chats and

(hopefully) makes its way towards quiet

in its own fashion

settling into a pause of reading

(sometimes writing, sometimes drawing)

mostly putting away video games

and scho-ology and taking

a break for story

each class reads the agenda in its own way

sometimes one reader, or two or four

with their own catch phrases

attention getters

and endings

each class distracts itself in its own rhythm,

bugs each other in its own waves

begins to help each other and look to each other

instead of to me,

gaining self-sufficiency

some days everyone is mad, agitated

excited (including me)

can’t stop moving or can’t

stay out of someone’s space

can’t put away the ipad

can’t locate their notebook

can’t put away their book or their math homework


can find something to write about

can figure out where there’s a pencil

can give their neighbor a helpful tip

or invite them to help them name the plants,

decorate the windows, arrange

the pillows aesthetically,

talk about something important

what’s beautiful to me is that

you came out of a single 5th grade classroom

into this place with bigger kids and

sooo many adults, and rules, and

giant binders

no hats or hoods or recess or

more than four minutes to catch

up with friends

a lot is asked of you and

some of it is boring or too much at

once or involves way too much


and some months you are

really with it and then

the next month maybe you

aren’t again but

along the way you

know another person’s name

and that you like the same book or the same

team or webcomic or are both good

at puzzles or both

know about k-pop

japanese monsters, basketball,

endangered animals

you figure out your favorite spot

in the room or

try a new one, you stand

on the wobble chair

with a twinkle in your eye

until I ask you to please climb down

you hide under pillows

you tell good and also

terrible jokes

you write me angry

emails and sweet

notes. you trade

romantic questions on scraps of paper

beneath tables you

take care of a stuffed animal that is really a

loaf of bread

you let others

see what you made

what you think (or

sometimes you don’t)

you notice something new

you choose to resist some things

and i maybe am annoyed in

that moment but secretly

i am glad that you are thinking

you are trying something

you are seeing what-if or


a breeze hits you. the

season is changing.

you are growing,

6th graders. you are

what is beautiful to me

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