This is always a strange time of year in schools; exams for years 10, 11, 12 and 13 and saying goodbye to most year 11s and all 13s.
Stress, anxiety, last minute revision, students panicking or deciding they are past caring. Teachers frantically trying to impart last minute knowledge and hoping beyond hope the “right” questions come up.
And in the middle of all the that, the awareness that it is all coming to an end. 5 or 7 years of familiarity, routines and (mostly) friendly faces. For some school has offered the most stability they have had in life, it has been a safe space, with adults who cared as well as teaching them.
For a student who is having counselling they have another end, the end of the therapeutic relationship. For many it is their first experience of counselling and can be the first time they have truly shared and felt heard, metaphorically held. We talk about the end a few weeks leading up to the last session. We talk about the progress they have made, skills they can use in the future and who is in their support network. I share what the journey has meant to me. And ultimately we say goodbye.
Personally I always find it a draining time of year, I feel like the teachers in revision sessions, trying so hard to make sure students are ready. And always there is an element of guilt for not being able to continue to offer support, even though it’s completely out of my control… issues!
So the students, school staff and myself this half term, will take a breather, think about everything we have learned and get ready for the goodbyes in a few weeks.