When I say good-by to my kindergarten children before the Winter holidays, it's always bittersweet. I know that I will miss them but I also know from years of experience that something happens over the holidays with little kids. It's simply magic! When my kiddos come back, they not only look older but all of a sudden you realize that they have internalized so much that you have been teaching. They know the rituals and routines of the classroom. They walk back into the new year so respectfully, almost quietly, like they are as happy as you are to be back! Of course, that quiet thing only lasts a day or two and they are back to their energetic little selves, but it's a good feeling when they come back. You know you spent the fall teaching your heart out and now you know for sure that they really have been learning!
This year was much like that for me. I have worked with a challenging little group of kindergartners this year, many with GREAT challenges. I remember our very first day together and thinking, "Oh my! It will take us until Christmas to see any progress!" Now it's the new year and I really can SEE the progress. I was smiling to myself the entire day.
Now I'm wondering if you get that same "magic" effect with intermediate students?