The end of the school year is not only in sight, it’s in-my-face-close, and I am mentally not where I want to be. I had hoped that by now I would have most of the loose ends all tied up so that I could enjoy the last couple of weeks, but instead I am facing crazy, chaotic deadlines that loom menacingly ahead.
It started innocently enough on May 20 – eighth graders lost two class periods in order to work on a common assessment in writing. The following week was testing – it’s all part of No Child Left Behind, which meant that my students lost six more class periods. That Friday there was no school for students; it was a teacher workshop day. Then came Memorial Day and there was no school for anyone. But that week wasn’t even a four day week, because the next Friday no eighth graders had classes. Our school celebrates an annual Elementary Activity Day, a special program for all younger students, and our eighth graders traditionally work with the younger kids all day.
All this means that in the last three weeks, my eighth graders have missed a crazy number of class periods, and this coming week is their last week of classes. It makes me want to run away. I should have seen it coming and adjusted assignments accordingly, but for whatever reason, it took all of us by surprise and the whole teaching team is struggling to finish. I will have four days to complete the process of selecting which students are chosen to give speeches at graduation; it usually takes about two weeks. I also have a week to finish all the preparation and production for the eighth grade yearbook, and many hours of work are still needed in order to be done.
On top of all that, our whole end of the year routine is skewed much differently this year, and the change has me thrown off balance. Usually graduation is the last event of the school year, held on the evening of the last day of school. But this year, eighth graders are done with classes a full week before the rest of the school, and I need to be involved with graduation activities, so I may need to have a sub in my room for my seventh graders. How will that work? I honestly don’t know if I can keep my seventh graders on task and engaged in school after the eighth graders are gone.
I feel like I’m caught in a trap, the hamster running as fast as his little legs can carry him, and getting nowhere the whole time. I’m so caught up in this chaos that I can’t set my sights on the distant goal. It’s the same way at home, too – I’ve been madly cleaning out the garage, and the shed, putting things in order, and we’re going to have a very large yard sale next weekend, and I’ve driven myself to such exhaustion that I can hardly move.
Am I creating my own drama as a way to avoid thinking about the end of the year? I don’t know how I’m supposed to act or feel at this point, so maybe I’m regressing in order to have something else to think about. I know that the week ahead will play itself out one way or another, and the next week will play itself out, too, and then it’ll all be good.
Meanwhile, friends, please let me know if I’m cranky, inappropriate, or misbehaved. I don’t want to go out badly!
Thanks for reading.