Thursday, June 2, 2016

School's OUT for Summer. . . . . (almost)

I've been trying to put together a post for a couple of weeks now.  However--much to my shame and chagrin--I just haven't been "feelin' it." There are probably a number of reasons for my pervasive malaise but I suspect it to be be directly attributable to the yearly "end of school funk" that the vast majority of teachers feel.  Oh, sure, we're happy that the summer is close at hand and we are happy to get a respite from the intellectual rigors of the classroom but there's more to it than those things alone. 

You see. . . the end of the year is fraught with stressors that are amplified by the end being within our (collective) grasps. 

* Knowing that you might be seeing the last student for a few months is a bummer--especially for the students you have forged a positive working relationship with.  They really are neat people (mostly). 
* Seeing that student--it's always the one on the cusp--lose every bit of stamina they have and simply give up (two weeks before the end of the year)  ACK!!!  How are you going to re-start THAT engine? Will a parent call work? How about a heart to heart? Does the student respond to nurturing or a more "tough-love" approach. . . . and you ONLY HAVE 8 DAYS TO GET IT SORTED OUT!!!!!
* Colleagues retiring or finding different employment: it's hard to see people go.  It's especially hard when they have become close friends and--knowing that school-year "free time" is the silliest concept on the planet--you will see very little of them in the future.
* The POLITICS!!!  UGH!!! They get worse at the end of the year as everyone has reached critical mass in patience for everything. The polite (ish) niceties become strained when working relationships are more a matter of chance than any sympathy among comrades. 
* The mad dash to get all your ducks in a row for summer time work.  Oh yes. . . . it's true. . . . most teachers work a good chunk of the summer.  Many of us do so without pay--we are working to make sure next-year's students have everything they need to be successful.  The catalyst for anxiety is making sure you have everything YOU need to do the actual work.  So, before the custodial staff comes and strips your room bare, everything needs to be where it is easily accessible--be it at home or some other place.  (And let's not forget the pervasive sense of DOOM upon knowing--with utmost certainty--that something has been forgotten.)
*The "end-of-year-I'm-going-to-act-completely-bonkers-and-start-behaving-like-radioactive-popcorn" syndrome that infects 99.732% of the student body.  Seriously. It's a thing and it's terrifying. 

This is but a small sampling.  The truth--and I always try to tell the truth even if it's not entirely objective--is that the end of a school year is such a convoluted jumble that it's hard to do anything other than muddle through and keep ticking off all the things on the "to do" list. 

There is this sort of cultural stereotype that teachers run out the doors after the last bell--throwing papers in the air, margaritas (or whatever you drink) in hand, plane tickets and suitcases at the ready, and smiling from ear to ear.  While that would make an interesting picture, it simply isn't the case.  The end of the school year is a complex as the rest of it. 

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