There is only 1 1/2 weeks left in the school year for me. Here in the south, the school year begins the first weeks of August, and we end before Memorial Day. I always have to laugh when I am at the ACL Summer Institute (which is always the last weekend of June), where there will be teachers who just finished the day before, while I have already had a month of summer vacation. Of course, when I am back at work in August, and those teachers do not have to return until after Labor Day, there is that tradeoff.
I hate this time of the year. As I have written before, the end of the school year is crazy time with graduation, final exams, the amount of standardized testing which disrupts classtime, and finishing up everything. I always liken the end of the school year to being on a runaway train. The train is not going to stop whether I like it or not, so alI I can do is just hold on. And then suddenly, the train stops, but due to the laws of physics, I am still in motion and am hurled forward. A colleague of mine compares the end of the school year to falling down a hill, and it is just a matter of how battered and bruised you will be when you get to the bottom.
I always feel like I am in a bad mood at the end of the school year, because by this time, students have mentally checked out. With the amount of AP tests and of standardized end of course exams which they have had to endure, they are ready to leave. I too am mentally ready to leave, but many times, I feel like I am fighting against students' attitudes (perhaps, they are reacting against mine). Even though exams are next week, I feel like students are emotionally ready to take exams purely to get them out of the way, although they may not be ready academically (but they could care less about the score). I think that this is how I know i am ready for the school year to be over.
The end of the school year brings a finality. My friend who is a CPA once remarked to me, "I'm jealous of your schedule, because you have a definite beginning, middle, and end to your year. I just have a neverending cycle of project deadlines." I had never really thought of my job that way, but he is correct in what he said. As teachers, we begin the school year with excitement but cross the finish line at the end, somewhat beaten and bruised; nevertheless, we still finish.
I do not think that most people understand why teachers need the summer off: in order to recharge our batteries for the next upcoming school year. Teaching is difficult; as much as I enjoy it, I do not think that I could do it year-round, nor do I think that students could endure it either. Keep in mind that we teachers receive a 10-month salary spread over 12 months.
This summer for me is already looking like a busy one. I will be finishing up my final semester in my Instructional Technology degree, so at the end of July, hopefully, I will have obtained both my Ed.S degree and certification to teach it (note - I do not plan to be an Instructional Technologist at the moment). I also will be attending both the ACL Summer Institute and IFLT, and I will be giving two CI presentations at both. I will also be serving as an apprentice coach at IFLT, so I am excited about that opportunity. These two conferences truly do help recharge my energy for August.
I am already excited about the prospect of a new school year. I just need to get through this one first...