Don’t get me wrong — I have been making long lists of projects and outings I plan to embark on “Once Finals Are Over” — everything from cleaning the basement to having friends on the deck. Still, while I count days to the end of a crazy teaching schedule at two colleges, I always feel a little sad about the last of anything.

Last day of wet clay was Friday. Last art appreciation presentations will be Wednesday. Last day of class with my writing students looms as well. The last glaze load will be cooling in two days time.

Meanwhile, I’ve known these students for fourteen weeks — Ceramics 2 students even longer. I’ve dragged them over new terrain, cajoled and scolded, told stories and jokes, listened to their struggles with life and academics, finance and romance.  I CARE about these folks.  And somewhere in the second week of May, they will all be assigned a percentage, summed and totalled, and then they’ll disappear into their own lives. The ceramics studio at Owens will stand empty all summer.

Familiar routines, washing that coffee cup, packing a bag lunch, taking the elevator or the stairs, driving to and from work with BBC and an eye on the clock… no part of it is all that remarkable, but having it end abruptly is unsettling.

I will spend absolutely no time sighing when my break begins… I’ll be digging in the garden, balancing the budget, planning meals, renting a dumpster, cleaning the garage, sorting outgrown kids clothes for goodwill — but until that point, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. The endless rain doesn’t help matters, even though the green leaves are pushing through and the world around me is greening up.

Besides, I am filling my summer schedule with classes at the new Hands On studio at the Toledo Botanical Garden — clay whistles, flasks and rattles, felting and batik, papermaking and tiles, taught by me and by others. New students, new focus, all very exciting.

I’m maybe too sentimental. I want to hug all my students goodbye and friend them on facebook, have them over for bbqs and know how their lives go from here… and they’re probably thinking, “Whew, that’s over! No more being blathered at by whatshername!”  Plus, grades add to the weirdness of a teacher-class bond… the fact that no matter how funny you are and no matter how much I like you, the math will add up the way it will and I cannot tell a lie to the great computerized  grade book that rules us all…

Anyway I’m in a funk about the whole windup here. Off to grade papers…

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