This post has been published as a cowbird story.
My teaching of this group had been evaluated by a university observer a few weeks earlier. Recorded observations included: "Class feels 'together.' Everyone on the same page. Students seem genuinely interested in helping each other. Activity was very group oriented. Class almost feels like a family." Today, the family didn't want to separate.
A bit more than an hour later, I wrapped up the class and announced that we were done. Again, no one moved. Ten minutes passed; twenty minutes passed; thirty minutes passed. The interaction continued, and some expressed how greatly they had enjoyed meeting and working together throughout the semester. The starting time of the next class that was to meet in the same room crept closer, but no one in the room wanted this class to end.
Eventually, after additional assurances that we would all remain connected, the students began to disengage. The semester may have finally reached its end, but the bonds of this academic family might very well endure.