“Only three weeks left, we can do this!”
These were the words of encouragement chirped by fellow teachers last week. We are near the end of another school year, exhausted and dragging. This point of the year is a series of checklists and to-dos. Kids are exhausted. The weather peaked into the high 80s last week and we popsicled our way through Friday. Every single teacher meme I see floating around the internet is exactly about me. Yep, I do look like a zombie these days.
Perhaps in your corner of the world you know some of these end of the year moments.
“Ok,” I say to the specialist at school. “I know you need to see Jerome*. We have three weeks left of school but only 6 days are actually teaching.” We shuffle through calendars and checklists. We can’t do Wednesday, that’s the outreach project to the senior citizen home. Thursday – that is our field day. Next week? Our annual class camping trip. Finally we scrape out two final blocks of time.
Last week we had two beautiful sunny days in a row. “Can we read outside today?” beg my darlings. I think about the joy that might come from sitting in the grass, reading our book, basking in delightful weather. I look across the room and notice one student, a particularly bouncy child, is even bouncier today. I glance at another student who has a lot of anxiety when the schedule changes. It’s a balancing act. Will the reading outside actually be enjoyable? In my head I was picturing tranquility as we read in our urban oasis. In reality, I can see kids getting overheated, sprinklers coming on, my bouncy kid not handling it, my anxious darling acting out because the change of stage was just too much. Today, I decide, is not the day. I also know, many days coming up WILL be the day. I am ok with my decision to stay in the air conditioned room and meet the needs of some kids over others.
My prep time has turned into a mixed bag of actual prepping and purging. The more I get rid of now, the less I will have to do before I walk out the door for vacation.
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My checklist includes “complete 2 report cards a night,” and “create awards for award ceremony.” I’m also looking ahead to next year. How can centers be used more efficiently next year? Do NOT put that big bookshelf back in the room! We need more space to wiggle!
And then, of course, I know in the next two and a half weeks (thanks for nothin’ snow days!) we will celebrate our victories, wipe down and clean up, empty bins, file papers, and eat a whole lot more popsicles.
Teachers of the world, we can do this! Good luck as you go through your own checklists and happy summer!