I often get pretty down as the academic year closes. I enjoy the rituals of the spring General Faculty Meeting, and like emptying my email inbox and working my way through The Stack.* But mainly, I dwell on things that went wrong, that I didn't do well, or didn't get a chance to do.
There's almost always unfinished business. I'm not the kind of teacher who just never gets through all the course material, and certainly not the kind that rushes everything in in the last two weeks. Most of my courses I have scheduled out precisely enough. The unfinished business is the business of thinking, and there's never sufficient time for that.
Then there's the inevitable acts of academic dishonesty to deal with, and students who don't do sufficient work to earn a good grade, or who disappear without turning in final papers. Those acts of self-destruction really bother me. Part of it is my desire to see students succeed, but it's also vaguely insulting to me, especially when it feels like I've done far more work in the course than a given student has. Doubly insulting when the student then blames me for a poor grade or for the F earned for cheating. (And yes, that's actually happened, on several occasions.)
I kind of mourn over missed opportunities in classes. I feel ongoing shame and embarrassment over miscommunication or mistakes - sending email with the wrong tone, or misnaming a student, or not recognizing a former student.
Four more class days, ending a week from Monday, and the onslaught of final papers.