It is that time of year when we begin to look forward to new beginnings. The school year is winding down and we begin to look forward to summer vacation. Our sixth graders at Goodrich however find this time of year bittersweet. They are excited about the adventures in front of them but they know they will not be returning to Goodrich. For most of them, they have spent more than half their lives in this building and feel a strong connection with it and the staff who work here. The future can be a little scary.
As a speech and language pathologist I like to use this time to discuss all of our triumphs and the amount of goals we have achieved while at Goodrich. My students love looking at goals from past years and seeing how far they come. We then look to the future.
Each year my sixth graders write notes to their future selves. They talk about their fears in moving to the junior high and its expectations. They feel they will get lost in “that huge building” and that they will have difficulty with their lockers, etc. Will they be able to manage the workload and all the extracurricular activities that they have been hearing about? What about the junior high teachers? Will they be mean? Someone always asks, “Could we just stay here just one more year?” These questions always lead to great conversations. We put all of our concerns into our letters. Once everyone is finished with their letters, they are placed in an envelope and sealed. Each student signs their name over the seal. The envelope is then placed in a safe place for summer.
Many students are surprised to see that the speech path at JJHS looks very similiar the one at Goodrich. In fact, “It is her!” That first session of the new school year we laugh over the anxiety about meeting the “new” speech pathologist. The letters remain hidden though until the end of the first quarter and then are distributed to their owners. The students love reading about the fears they had about the future and we discuss how there was nothing to be afraid of and how much they love their new school! It is one of my favorite days of the year.