After a jam packed weekend at the beach, Bennett and I spent the majority of the day in our pajamas. Both of us were completely wiped as he napped and I attempted to keep a sore throat and flu-like aches at bay. As I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed quite a few celebratory status updates from my colleagues. Five days left of school and then the weeks that every teacher dreams of: summer vacation!
|Every teacher has a countdown…
Last year, in particular, I began a countdown to summer break at 30 days. Although I had a great crop of students, I could not wait for the delicious promises of summer: sleeping in, sun, and sand. I even got to the point where my essential question did not change for a few days. It was the best EQ I had ever written:
|EQ: Do you even read these?|
After perusing Facebook for longer than I care to admit, I got a text message from a colleague who is also reasonably new to the profession,
1. You are sick and tired of excuses. “I was up late last night studying for Mrs. (fill in the blank)’s test and I didn’t do your homework;” “I forgot about your test because I had soccer practice;” “I didn’t do your homework because I wanted to watch the bachelorette.” At the start of the year, you can handle it. You are sympathetic (to a point), and try to work with your students as long as they have given you advanced warning. By the end of the year, these excuses are not only wearying, they are downright annoying. You cannot and do not listen to them anymore. Any excuse becomes an opportunity to practice your teacher glare. I don’t mean to brag, but I’ve got a pretty solid teacher look. Kids run in fear.
2. No name papers immediately go into your special filing cabinet. You don’t waste your energy asking your students who forgot to write their name on the top of a paper. You don’t put it on your “wall of shame.” You figure by the time you solve the mystery of the no-named essay, it will be beyond your posting deadline. You also cannot believe that after nearly 180 days in the classroom your students have not figured out how to write their name.
3. You welcome visitors into your classroom. Although interruptions normally irritate you as you lose valuable instruction time, you welcome them. Need to ask me a question that could’ve waited until my planning period? Come on in! Need to observe me the last week of class? SURE! This way, I know you’re burned out too. I am proud to be proficient!
4. You start to write “thoughts of the day” on the board that have absolutely nothing to do with your content area. Last year, I am pretty sure I had an appropriate lil Jon quote on my board for a few days. I wasn’t sure why, but it felt good. The kids didn’t realize that I wrote it on the board, because they stopped paying attention to the agenda two weeks before summer vacation.
5. You just can’t.