June Hard Things

The last week of school, for a teacher, is almost surreal. For one thing, it always seems like yesterday that this little motley crew arrived on your classroom doorstep. And yet, a full ten months has passed and you feel like you’ve found your rhythm, except now it’s over. 

For another thing, there is so much going on in the last weeks of school, you are experiencing the surreal feeling of your soul not quite catching up with your body most of the time. Report cards, final assessments, classroom parties, teacher farewell parties, classroom pack-up – it’s a lot.

As the kindergarten teacher, we also host kindergarten graduation, which is emotional, lovely, and a lot of work to put together. It needs to be special, because this is a big step and parents and children alike deserve to celebrate this transition. But you also walk this tightrope of keeping it reasonable, because these are five-year-olds we are talking about and there’s only so much celebrating to be done before things start falling apart.

On top of that, our family needs to leave as soon as the last child leaves their toga in my classroom because we are flying to Canada to see my son graduate high school. Yes, my son has been completing his grade 12 year in Canada, because he wanted to test out his sea legs (or, more aptly named, ice legs) of independence before he started university.

Added to the mix, it’s really heating up around here. I’m doing all of these things while feeling as though someone attached a very warm baby animal to each leg. There’s nothing more energy-draining than tropical humidity. And I need my energy, folks. I need it more than all the coffee in Mexico.

You guys. I am a pretty put-together person, I must say. I mean, sure, I tend to be a little messy and I burn at least one batch of chocolate chip cookies per bake, but I usually have my life running fairly routinely on the day-to-day. But June, my friends. June is testing that ability. It’s a multi-layered issue that involves paperwork, planning, teaching, packing and last, but not even close to least, all my feelings.

The song that my students and I are preparing to sing at their graduation is about how we can do hard things. In their case, they are talking about transitioning to primary school. This can be challenging, because it’s very different from the early childhood life they’ve been leading to this point.

In my case, the hard thing is wondering how to manage the heat and twenty-five meetings in one week. The hard thing is making sure I don’t forget at least sixty essential items so we can spend the entire summer in Canada without needing to fly back to Mexico for someone’s back pills. The hard thing is being super-duper patient with every person in my life while feeling as though I am sweating from my hair strands. 

The hard thing is trying not to cry when I give my students their diplomas because I’ll be remembering that time I gave my son his kindergarten diploma and now he’s about to graduate high school. 

But I can do hard things, just like the song says. I’m off to make cookies now, even if I burn a batch, because this will surely help me with my hard things list. 

And, if you happen to know a teacher, give them a kind hug one of these June days. We’re all doing hard things, even though we really do love what we do.


  • Leza Warkentin

    I have been living and teaching in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, since the turn of the century. I am a Canadian with a musician-Mexican husband and two Mexican-Canadian patas saladas who are growing up way too fast.

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