With only two classes left, and no actual teaching, I can accurately state the semester is about to come to a close. The fun part, and the hard part, has arrived. The end of a semester is the very stuff of life -- its essence. Some students have succeeded, and some have failed. Some have tried their best, but it wasn't good enough. Some haven't tried hard at all. As in life, I tell my students more than 50% of success is showing up. Success is helped along by effort, and the providence of God. (I don't give much credence to 'luck' - whatever that is.) Lessons they learn in class go beyond subject/verb agreement, how to reduce anxiety when speaking, and lessons Odysseus learned on his odyssey. They are learning the importance of showing up, putting in effort to achieve a positive result, working well with others, persevering, taking responsibility for failure and taking pride in success.
In my Comp 1 classes, students need to pass a writing proficiency test to pass the class. Most of my students are anxious about passing, and very relieved when they find out they have passed. Some are not surprised when I tell them they have failed, and some remain in disbelief.
Today I had the joy of telling 90% of my students they had passed the test, and the class. A few students actually whoop and holler, no kidding. A few students hugged me. Others smiled and offered thanks. When I tell students if they passed the test, and inform them of their grade in the course, I look them in the eye. Some are comfortable with that, while others avoid looking at me. I know it may be cultural in some cases, but I think it's important to deliver both good news and bad news directly -- no matter how much it hurts (both them and me).
So the last week of the semester is full of joys, and trials, triumphs, and failures. But there is always next semester. There is always tomorrow -- another life lesson.