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Parting of the Ways

By Rebecca Thomas and Steve Saville

We all change. When you think about it, we're all different people all through our lives,”

- Dr. Who

Last year we recall live streamed prize giving, non-existent transition days and vaccination passes, so as we listen in to preparations for market days, school fetes, staff social events, transition days and disco dance offs a warmth creeps over us.

Giving our students a proper send off, hugging our friends as they move to new careers, seeing reciprocal smiles, greeting whānau at the gates and wishing them well is how the year should end.

But why does a good, goodbye matter?

Being part of a school community involves a weaving of complex relationships, be they fleeting, or long. As people leave the safety of the nest they carry with them voices and memories - who knows some may even come back to the school as a teacher, caretaker, teacher aid, parent, or principal in the future. Individuals need closure; goodbyes affirm what the best has been whilst also affirming a new chapter and opportunity for growth of what can be.

Without an appropriate and healthy farewell, it can be hard to move on and get on with our lives, especially if the relationship has been important to us. Letting go of the relationship with some people is often inevitable, as we and they go forward in life, through different phases and ages.

Facing the feelings involved in this departure can be a powerful and learning experience, helping us to understand both our own reactions to a parting of the ways, and those of others.

Schwörer, Krott, and Oettingen (2020) found across seven different studies that "well-rounded endings”—those marked by a sense of closure—were associated with positive affect, relatively little regret, and an easier transition into the next life phase.

Our endings deserve the same ritual and respect we give our beginnings.

Walking towards someone or something as the year comes to a close is poignant symbolism.

It appears that how we deal with foreseeable endings, e.g., ending high school, ending a job, or even ending a conversation is as important as focusing on creating a good start. Enjoy ending this year on a high.

Teachers, you've been fantastic, absolutely fantastic!

(A koha from Steve and Rebecca to help you reflect on your awesomeness and many, many achievements - a wellbeing To Done List Tool)

FREE WELLBEING TOOL to help you say Goodbye to 2022

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