Thursday, May 5, 2016

Another End

Today was the final class day of this semester. By this time next week, final exams will be over and another academic year will have come to an end.  I will have completed year twenty-five in the same teaching position.

The music theory sequence is a minimum of four semesters of paired courses; it can be five if a student comes in needing to make up a deficiency.  Of those five courses, I teach four of them, all but the first (or second).  So by the time I have had the same students for three consecutive semesters in two courses each semester, I know them well, and I have a genuine interest in their lives beyond my classes.  Of those completing the sequence this semester, some have auditioned at four year universities and are excited to take the next step in their education, some are experiencing disappointment because they were not accepted to the school of their choice, and some are questioning whether or not they want to continue on in music or choose another career path.  Whatever the case, it has been my job and my privilege to serve each one of them - to teach them, guide them, and support them along the way as they prepare for whatever their next step may be.

I am grateful that I teach so many courses in this sequence.  Although I am bidding farewell to my class of music theory IV students, I will see those students who have been in Music Theory II and III again next fall.  Knowing that I have a group of returning students makes it a little easier to say goodbye to those who are moving on.

Another consolation is that those students who left last spring have completed their first year in a four year institution.  They are now coming back or sending emails sharing their successes and excitement surrounding their academic achievements.  That students take the time to stop by or write an email sharing with me how they are doing lets me know that they were aware of my genuine care and concern for them while they were in my classes.  In case you are wondering...yes, there are some that I never hear from again once they hand me the final exam.  With a very few, that's OK. I wish them well, but that's it.

I will spend my weekend writing final exams and finalizing grades, enduring the stress that the end of every semester brings.  Next Thursday night I will play for commencement.  And Friday, summer vacation begins.  Just as the semesters seem to fly by, so will the summer.  Before I know it, August will be here and my year twenty-six will begin.  A whole new group of students will come and I will have the opportunity to get to know them, perhaps touch their lives in a meaningful way, and then send them on as well.  The cycle of the academic life.