Dear Teacher Friends,
We hit 92 degrees today and it managed to do so just about when we had outdoor recess, of course. We had a fire drill this morning and we’ll have another on Friday (apparently we missed May’s so we had to do it today and then we’ll still have to do June’s – there’s a powerful metaphor here for education if I just had the energy to find it). We’re desperately trying to finish up DRAs, DSAs, writing samples, class placement cards, progress reports (both fourth quarter and final grades and comments), and who knows what else. IT’S A LOT. It is. No question.
So I get it. I am done too. I still have seven more days with students but I. Am. Done.
Getting up every morning is hard. Making sure I have clean clothes to wear that are comfortable and school appropriate is even harder. And not biting the heads off my third graders for acting like nine year olds is much harder than it should be.
This year has been hard beyond words (although I’m trying to write about that too). Hard for us. Hard for the kids. Just hard in every way. Our regular end-of-the-year exhaustion is exponential right now. I feel it.
In spite of that I have a small old-lady-teacher lecture I have to get out of my system.
I hear us all saying (and I do mean us because I do it too), “Why are we still here? We should just be done already!” We know we’re done (see above) and we think the kids are done. So what’s the point?
The problem is, the kids are done because of us. We’ve hit a point that we just can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing so we don’t. We abandon our routines. We throw out our regular schedule. We start taking things down and packing things up.
And then we see the kids are done.
Yes. Because they see that we’re done.
We can relax things without completely giving up on what we’ve done all year. We worked so hard to establish our routines, we should use them to the end, let them work for us. Give kids more independent reading time. Find some blank comic pages for writing. Search out some fun Sudoku or similar puzzles for math. Keep kids doing some semblance of what they’ve done all year and they’ll do a better job of keeping things going as they’ve done all year.
Leave things up on your walls. Keep your classroom library and math manipulatives out. Start packing up what’s in your cabinets and drawers, things the kids can’t see. Fill out all your end of the year forms and checklists. You can do a lot towards being ready on the final day without it causing chaos in your classroom.
If we were done now, the kids would have been like this a week or two ago. They would have hit their chaos point as soon as we hit our exhaustion point. We control this. (Not all of it, I can admit that, but a lot of it.) We can get to the end without it being as painful as it might be. We have to keep doing school for as long as possible. The kids will be with us if we do. And it’ll be worth it.
Your Old-Lady-Teacher Friend