Yesterday was my last class of the semester. I always do a semester review on the last day, but I also try to make it lighthearted and fun. I know the students are just done done done at this point. I usually am too – this semester especially so with a lingering cold and the cloud of Lyme disease still hanging over my head.
I made my special brownies with spices and salt and a dash of heat. Students from last semester exclaimed with excitement when I opened the tin. “I was hoping you were going to bring those!” a few students said as they reached for the biggest pieces.
About half the class have been my students all year, and we’ve gotten to know each other fairly well. For the past eight months we’ve seen each other twice a week as they navigated their way through thesis statements, organization, rhetorical analysis, synthesis, citations, and hopefully a lot of critically thinking with me at the helm. And now it’s over. We’ll never all be together again. I can’t imagine any scenario in which these students will ever be my students again.
It’s bittersweet. The end of a long hard journey is always a sweet relief. The very final end is always a little bitter.
It reminds me of that song by the Byrds, Turn! Turn! Turn!
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
This season with this group of students is finished. Just like that. One day we’re having a lesson as usual, the next day we’re eating brownies and saying good-bye.
Seasons are usually more gradual. The cold darkness of winter transitions into bright spring days with many false starts. Warm days turn into freezing nights with a shock and sometimes fatal blow to fragile buds. We usually get a weather forecast warming us of these spring setbacks. But the end of semester is final.
Of course, I’ve been wrapping up the course material for a couple of weeks. The students have given presentations on their work, we’ve covered conclusions, I’ve given them the final deadlines. But emotionally, the end is sudden. The season is over.
It’s time to turn to the next season. Instead of bittersweet, I hope my brownies make it savory sweet.
*I know someone is going to ask for my brownie recipe. I just take a regular box mix and add Himalayan salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cayenne pepper (I don’t have any measurements, just the usually pinch and dash to taste) then I sprinkle course sea salt on top and bake as usual.