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Dr. Alissa C Zuchman, Director, 847-291-7788

Wednesday, May 11, 2022 -10 Iyar 5782 THE END IS NEAR

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An old joke comes to mind that I think can be adapted for this time of year. I think the new version would go something like this: Two teachers stand outside their school holding signs that read, “The End Is Near! Return possessions to the one in charge or pay dearly.” As students begin to arrive, the students see the signs and go into a panic. At this point, one teacher says to the other, “Do you think we should shorten our signs too, ‘Last Day of School! All Materials Due Today’”?

So the original about a bridge works better, but the salient point remains valid. Communicating clearly with learners about the end of the school year is a vital element of the pedagogic experience. As the school year comes to a close, learners can feel a wide range of emotions, from excitement for the beginning of summer to sadness about the loss of a community they have been a part of for many months. Sitting down to reflect on the year is important for learners in order to navigate these emotions.

Each educational milieu is different, so how one reflects must be different depending on the situation. Some educators might choose to have their entire cohorts sit together and discuss the year’s high points and what could have gone better. Others will sit down for one-on-one meetings with learners as a means to give personal guidance for continuing to grow even as summer break puts a pause on formal education. Perhaps some educators will utilize a hybrid method as the extroverts share with the group while the introverts open up in the more personal conversations.

Whatever the method, make sure to keep in mind the siyum(literally: completion), the traditional celebration that comes at the completion of a portion of learning. Helping learners celebrate their accomplishments and reflect on what was meaningful about the year will help them to make the learning a part of themselves.

Rabbi Eric Zaff

Curriculum Director