By the end of the year, the number of gray hairs on my head has grown exponentially. I attribute this to the final month of school where pretty much the entire year is raveling before you and you are trying to hold it all together like a giant house of cards. Balancing the busyness, the tiredness, and the energy of students ready to be on summer break, all while willing the minutes to tick faster until summer. Send help. This is a post for end of year teachers by an end of year teacher. Summer, come quick.
CONFESSIONS OF AN END OF YEAR TEACHER
This year has been hard. This group of students hit puberty collectively earlier than my last couple of groups, so I was NOT PREPARED. How do 7th grade teachers do it? They are not paid enough to deal with all the giggling. Bless them.
I am going to be real here for a second and admit what most teachers would be ashamed to say. My expectations are exceedingly lower than they were in August. Shall we compare?
August teacher asked all students sit up straight, pencils in hand, and follow along with the class. End of year teacher considers no one visibly asleep in class a success. Sleeping with your eyes open is impressive and allowed. August teacher required students to write their full heading on every single piece of paper. End of year teacher is fine with Jose C. writing a J followed by a scribble that looks like it could be a C. Whatever works, JC.
Today as I was checking homework, I could not stand to hear one more student tell me that they didn’t have it. By my last class, I didn’t even ask students to get it out to check because I just could not watch the bad acting.
“Where is your homework?”
(Pause to watch student ruffle through her backpack and look around her desk – CLEARLY, FAKING IT)
“I did it. I must have left it at home. I will bring it tomorrow.”
Why don’t you just tell me that you did not do it and don’t plan on ever doing it until I call home and arrange for you to stay after school to do it with me because that it how it has gone all year? WHY DO WE CONTINUE WITH THE CHARADES?!
The state of my classroom has changed too. My pencil cup has seen better days. I ran out of pencils in October. It has now been reduced to storage for trash since the trash can is all the way on the other side of the room. Students without pencils? You. are. out. of. luck. You only have a highlighter? Great.
This was what my desk looked like at the beginning of the school year.
Now it looks like this. It’s not terrible, but notice all of the water bottles. Who would have thought that the most confiscated item this year would be water bottles?
Speaking of things that have seen better days, here is my restroom pass. I thought I would document just how far it has gone. In case it is unclear, the top restroom pass needed to be replaced. The bottom is the replacement.
A couple of months ago, my school launched a gratitude campaign. This response was the one that I photographed, but there were HUNDREDS of responses in which students wrote that they were grateful for their teachers.
It reminded me how much I have to be grateful for in my classroom and with my students. And even though I am counting down the hours until I wave goodbye to students for the summer, I am pretty darn grateful for my students and the privilege it is to teach, gray hairs and all.