When in June…

What a time to be alive


Yep. It is that time of year. For most schools, June marks the end of a long run and the culmination of the school year. For the most part, tests, trips, and major lessons are in the rear view. In June, the sun is out on most days, our classrooms are filled with the buzz of fans blowing hot air mixed with the smell of “teen spirit”. In elementary schools, this is always an opportune time to talk about personal hygiene and “coming of age”! But besides the somewhat relaxed tone that this time of year takes, school during the last month of the year is always a rewarding time. We are in school in June, so when in June…I guess we need to do like June does…


For teachers and students alike, the month of June seems to finalize the nostalgia of learning. Once students and teachers simultaneously realize that we have made it out of the trees, we can finally take a step back and gaze at the forest. There are still things that I need to cover in terms of curriculum requirements over these last few weeks. But I am now able to slowly walk with my students in their learning instead of going Jesse Owens-status day in and day out.


I find myself breaking from a lesson to talk with my class about things that cross my mind through these June days. Today, towards the end of an English lesson, I abruptly paused and said to my class, “You notice we didn’t really get any new students mid-way through the year this year? I mean we have Morgan and Aeesha that are new to the school, but they came in September. It doesn’t even feel like they’re new.” On that note, we had a familial discussion about new students and reminisced about the new kids that came in prior years. That convo made my day.


I’ve always preached to my students that my class operates in a slightly-titled negotiation (obviously, “slightly-titled” in my direction) zone. But these days, I am a little more open to deals concerning time spent at the park on the caveat of a few solid periods of math and language instruction (I am also happy that I have used that word so much this year that my kids now understand it fluidly! Another win). In June, I also notice the little things more. Today, I observed a younger student walking in the middle of a 2nd grade line down the hallway with his index finger over his lips, signifying that he indeed was intent on making it to his next classroom quiet-style, just like he was taught back in kindergarten. If this was October or February, I probably would have marched right by him. But today I stopped, told him that I appreciated his hallway demeanor and gave him a high five. He smiled, kept it moving, finger still fixed on his lips.


There are a lot of great months to be a teacher. But the month of June may be up there near the top; simply for the energy that is in the building this time of year. We are still learning, but it almost seems like a different type of learning happens in June: a type of learning where both teachers and students are looking back and imaging ahead all at the same time. Thinking on through reflection and taking time while doing it. Before school is out for the summer break, I am going to really embrace these last few weeks. Because it is truly a time of transcendental experiences which leads to great learning opportunities.



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Matthew R. Morris

Educator, Speaker, Writer

Matthew R. Morris is a writer, speaker, and elementary educator in Toronto. He has an M.A. in Social Justice Education from OISE at the University of Toronto and is the author of the forthcoming book, Black Boys Like Me. 

Matthew R. Morris

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