Day 183 (of 185) on graduations
Is the ‘graduation’ of students from one site to another a celebration? For all? For some?
I recall my own June Graduation from k-12 as “not a big deal” because I still had more years ahead of me at university – but for some of my peers, celebration was in order as they were the first to complete k-12 / it was a big deal worth celebrating…..
Yet ironically (perhaps) when students finish k-12, the ‘celebration’ seems to be more about the number of “years served” and being at “the end” than reflecting on what was Learned. Is it about ‘getting out’? Is it about how much growth has occurred? Successes along the way? Is it about finding ways to reward students – do the rewards/awards have criteria that has been clearly communicated (AFL) so the students know what they need to do?
With a shift away from letter grades……is “finals week” likewise facing a transition? Will students only attend until the last day if there are marks associated with them being there? Or are there “days away” to “prepare” for the year-end celebration events? Or are there ‘interesting learning opportunities’ that can keep students engaged even if their ‘final marks’ have already been sent to the office?
Traditional transitions are complex. They are meant as celebrations yet are symbolic of ending one thing (that is known) and going “somewhere else” (and oh, the places you’ll go…..sometimes can be scary). And how many “graduations” are right? Just grade 12? Kindergarten? At the end of grade 5, again at grade 8 or 9 (middle school) again between junior and senior secondaries? They can be sources of stress and anxiety – both about the event on its own let alone worries about if enough courses have been passed in order to walk across the stage.
As my own children creep closer to graduation, the more I’ve been thinking about what their K-12 experience has been about….and what the status of a “traditional graduation process” should look like and ‘be about’ as schools and schooling continues to evolve!
As a conversation went recently: this is indeed a very exciting time to be in education!