The last day of school is meant to be a time of reflection and of wrapping up a year spent together. We looked back over what we’ve achieved, and the experiences we’ve shared. After that we headed outside for the annual staff v. 5th grade kickball game.
Yes, I said kickball. And here’s the really amazing part… I not only played, but I scored. Twice. Now you know I’m not an athlete. I’m an extremely fat 47 year old woman whose idea of physical activity is splashing around in a pool for a while (preferably with a cold beverage waiting on the edge). Kickball was never really my sport. Oh sure, I played, Everyone played. But that was when I was 10! I don’t think I’ve played much since then. Still, I wanted to particiapate. I didn’t want to be on the sidelines, so I signed up. You know what? It was fun. Really fun. And I really tried. I kicked hard and ran as fast as I could. And, this is amazing, I actually got on base all three times I kicked, and scored TWICE! Needless to say, I actually enjoyed the game. Way more than my colleagues who didn’t play and were supervising all the students!
After that wrapped up, we put in a long movie and the teachers worked frantically to shut down the year. There were report cards to stuff, boxes to pack, bulletin boards to take down, papers to file, furniture to clean and move, and so much more.
Add to that general chaos the fact that our building is undergoing major construction during the summer, so EVERYTHING had to be boxed by the last day of school. The thing is, we couldn’t do too much of it early because 1. there’s no place to store boxes in a room crammed full of children and furniture, and 2. as soon as kids see you breaking down the room they check out. We needed them engaged until the very end.
I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my teaching career. My colleagues, my kids, and their parents have all be fantastic. I have rediscovered the joy that should be in every classroom in the world, but is sadly missing in far too many.
As much as I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been exhausting. Every year is. It seems to me that any teacher who isn’t ready for a break by the end of the school year hasn’t really given it their all. Like an athlete who leaves it all on the field, most of the teachers I know leave it all in the classroom. By the end of the year our batteries are drained and we need a rest.
The image that the general public has of teachers in the summer is quaint, but unrealistic for most of us.
People think we send all summer in a beach chair catching up on our reading and sipping lemonade. While there’s some of that for many of us, most of us scramble around to find summer work.
Summer school, tutoring, and seasonal employment are all popular options for educators. I’ll be teaching a writing workshop over the summer through our local university. I’m happy to have the opportunity, but believe me, it’s work. Still, it doesn’t start for a few days, so I’ll enjoy the break while I can, with a good book in one hand, and a cold lemonade in the other.