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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

SLICE OF LIFE

Last week was our final week of school. On Tuesday night, we had our parent/community committee dinner. I'm the chair of that committee, so of course, I had to go. On Wednesday, I stayed for the art and music show. Thursday night was eighth grade graduation. I helped serve cake at the reception. And on Friday, the kids came for half a day. We waved goodbye, had a farewell luncheon to honor people who were leaving and then everyone drifted back to their rooms, to do that final bit of clean up.

Everyone that is, except my friend Kathy and me. Kathy and I have decided that there are at least four kinds of teachers in the world.

1) The first group of teachers puts away a few things a day the last week or ten days of school. By the time the last day comes, their rooms are stripped bare. They are usually the first to sign up for a checkout time, and the first to head out of the building for summer vacation. "Have a nice summer," they say, as they stick their heads into my door, then quickly back away.

2) The second group of teachers go on an all out blitz the second to last day of school. The last day at my school is usually taken up with the end of year awards ceremony (a subject I do not want to discuss) and class picnics/parties, so the teachers in this category finish their rooms the day before. When I go into those rooms on that second to last day, there is a flurry of activity; one group of children is going through the book baskets, another group is gleefully tearing down bulletin board paper, and one or two lucky kiddos have staple removers. By 2:00, their rooms are usually completely stripped. They, too, are early getter outters, who stick their heads in the door to say goodbye on their way out of the building at 2:45 or 3:00.

3) The "I'm never going to get done today" crew. On the last day of school, early in the morning, their rooms look pretty much like they would any other day of school. There are still charts on the walls, and books in the book boxes, and papers in the desks. "I am never going to get done on time," they wail, as they sip their early morning Starbucks. But somehow, miraculously, by the end of the day, all of that stuff is gone, boxed up, ready for August. Those teachers don't leave at 3:00. Sometimes it's 4:00. Or 5:00 or even 6:00. But they are out of there that last day of school, telling me about their evening plans, which generally include adult beverages and dinner that someone else cooks, usually served on a cool patio.

4) And then there's me. And Kathy. We are pretty much always some of the last people out of the building. Actually, I don't think I have ever once, in my 25+ years of teaching, made it out of the building on time. Usually, I stay a couple of days after everyone else leaves. I file papers that are dated January 4th. I put away books. I clean the piles on the top of my desk. I finished all of that Monday afternoon, because I have to be in leadership training the rest of the week. Kathy is teaching summer school, so she went back tonight to finish.

But wait. I'm actually not finished. Did I mentioned I am in charge of the book room too. And I haven't ever started that project. AARGH!

Just once in my career, I want to be one of the people who leaves at 3:00 that last day.

10 comments:

Mary Beth Steven said...

It's you and Kathy and me! We finished our last day with students last Thursday. Friday was our work day, but instead of cleaning up my room, I prepared for summer school which started yesterday. I will plunk along, staying an hour or so each day until the last day of summer school. Eventually I'll be ready. It always happens.

onathought.com said...

What a great description of all the types of end -of-the-year teachers! There is always so much to do!!!!

Brittany Butler said...

If only we had the option to stay in my old schools! I would have way rather had that and enjoyed what little time I had left in the year with the kids and colleagues than what we had - a deadline to get it all done, in, clean, packed, and orders in for the next year by 3pm ON THE LAST DAY. It sucked. I feel your plight here thought. Glad you are as dedicated as you are... I also haven't actually sliced since March! Had to catch up on everything else? I don't know. Good to be back and know I wasn't the only one!

Mandy said...

It's possible! I did it this year for the first time and here was my trick. Plan a family vacation that starts the very next day. It is a huge motivator to get home and really set the summer tone for our house with joy.

Ramona said...

Yep, I was a #4 too . . . and because our district didn't kick us out, I would wander in and out during the summer at my leisure.

Donna Smith said...

Mary Beth, Kathy, you and me... good thing we weren't ALL in the same building - we might never make it out before the start of the new year! Actually, closer to the end of my teaching career, I discovered ways of tightening up the time and getting out late the first day. But teaching first grade, I always wanted every last minute for teaching. And first graders are NOT good at helping pack. They can tear down, but even sorting books is a challenge for them. So I did it alone - in peace and quiet when I was sure every last student had gotten every last bit of me they could stand! Then as the last one filed out the door for summer, I'd turn on about 4 fans aimed strategically to not blow the papers about, but still cool me down; grab lots of water and coffee; turn up the tunes and get cracking!

elsie said...

Everyone has their own timetable and yours is more relaxed than others. I've been on both sides and there are advantages to both. Glad to see you back slicing.

Michelle Nero said...

Oh, this is sooooo true!!! Today was my last day of school ... and I'll be back tomorrow! I was hoping to be out today, even at 4:30, but no such luck. That pile of papers dated January 4th were waiting for me too. :) But tomorrow, summer will begin ... in the afternoon ... sometime ... Best of luck wrapping up your room!

Nanc said...

This is so clever. I was in category 4 with one difference. My filing system consisted of last units crammed in file drawers, stacked up as high as I could manage, usually 3 rows. I too had a bookroom and always seemed to fight a losing battle, books came back sometimes 2 weeks late. So...when I came back they were always stacked outside my door. And sigh, I never once got out by 3 pm on the last day.

I miss the life so much. love you Carol xo nanc


PS I told several people this week about you and your wonderful blog. I was at a Christian Writer conference this week, trying to pitch my middle grade. I've been so used to presenting and going to teacher's conferences through the years that I didn't know how to behave :) I certainly loved the grammar people...not! The best part was meeting wonderful women just starting out and older than me people with such wisdom and sweetness.

Mary Lee said...

I am a #5. Combine all of #4 and then add coming back the next day and putting in an 8 hour day, half in my room and half in the grade level work room. Why bother aspiring to be a #1-3? Let's just embrace our #4-6ness and be happy with who we are!