But, as I look at my students, I try to picture them as they walked into my classroom in that first day of school. And, once I can visualize that moment, I can appreciate how far they have come along. It might be difficult to perceive the gradual changes when we interact with them on an almost daily basis. But, if we were to capture them and somehow freeze them that first day, and compare them to what they have become, the changes are there. My 5th graders were still in 4th grade mode back in August, but I can see through our discussion and through the work they turn in that there is a maturity, slight as it might be, that has taken place. The same is true of my 4th grade students.
At the beginning of the year, I had all students fill out a questionnaire that we placed in a "time capsule". I promised that at the end of the year we would revisit their responses. It will be very enlightening, for them and me, to find out how much they have changed by then. In the meantime, I think I should take a deep breath, relax, listen to a few carols, and enjoy the break. After all, every year the tasks that seem insurmountable always managed to be conquered.