End of Term is a Time of joy and sadness. Joy at putting the hard work behind us, at being “done”. There are few times in life when it appears that closure comes so comprehensively. Just for that, exams are a good thing.
Sadness permeates too – not regret that an interesting teaching term is done, but that it highlights the frailty of the human condition. Exams, and other end of term stresses, accentuate other problems we all inevitably have in our lives, and for students, this can become a cause of immense anguish. Absences rise, sickness prevails, and as teachers, we stand witness to the compounding effect of young people’s problems. Year after year it happens, and it never gets easier or simpler.
Over time, we see the same issues arise, and also learn to recognize it in ourselves, and thus reconnect to our times as students. Only it seems as if today, our students deal somewhat better with their problems than we did; they just are more mature and worldly-wise. Yet, this does not change how hard it is to relive those experiences through a younger person’s experience. I wish we did not have to. It also really amplifies our own problems, however different or varied they may be.
In the end, sadness lingers on after the joy has been spent. Grades are turned in, its all squared away, yet one remembers that bumps in life are exactly that – ups and downs. Just when the road seems smooth, there is a bump, with the high and the low – we cannot have one without the other. End of term is like a bump, quite inevitable. The finality we seek at the end of a school term or year is hard to attain. The end of term is just not terminal.