Yep, it is the end of the school year - I have roughly one more week with students. I absolutely hate it. I hate how I feel like I cannot get much done any more. I hate how disruptive the daily schedule has become due to standardized testing - state tests, AP exams, and district assessments - and how every year, that testing period seems to grow in length - this year it is now four weeks! I hate how my lesson plans have now become suggestions due to not knowing on a daily basis just how many students will be absent due to testing. I hate on days when I do see all students that I feel like I am fighting against students who have already mentally and emotionally checked out for the school year. I hate how physically tired I feel with trying to finish up everything in the next week. I hate how there was so much which I wanted to do this school year but did not. Mostly of all, I hate how that I am feeling all of this - this has been the norm for this time of the year over my past twenty years of teaching, so I do not know why I am always so shocked when it happens. One would have thought that I would have learned my lesson by now.
I am so ready for a break away from the classroom and from students.
But here's the kicker: I also know that after a two-month break, I will be ready to return to the classroom. I know that I will feel refreshed after having a summer break. I know that being a part of a conference like IFLT will get me excited to being back with students again and will reignite my fire as something like IFLT or NTPRS always has. I know that the beginning of a new school year will wash away whatever failures I feel about myself now at the end of the school year. I know that I need to do anything NOT school-related. I know that I need time away from being "Mr. Toda" and time to be just "Keith". I know that I need a huge distance away from the classroom, but I also know that distance is healing.
How do I know all this? Because this is exactly how it goes every school year. I drag myself over the finish line, battered and bruised, but come August, I am refreshed and ready to teach again. Teaching is not a sprint but a marathon. All that matters is that I finish the race, not necessarily win it. Although I absolutely hate and loathe the end of the school year, the thought of starting again in August fully rejuvenated is already exciting to me.
This is how i know that I have been called to be a teacher.