4th Quarter Teacher Thoughts - #Relatable
I think TS Eliot and Ella Fitzgerald (among others) were speaking to teachers when they asserted that spring could really hang you up the most. From the unpredictable weather, revolving sickness in the classes, to wasps crawling back to life, spring drags on its own sweet time. But, as the school year comes to a close, here are some fourth-quarter reflections from a tried, tested, and tired teacher. I know I am speaking for more than myself with these light-hearted sentiments. So which ones can you relate to the most?
Read the directions.
You know it’s the end of the school year when your directions on the board, or Google Classroom (or other LMS) just reads: Read the directions. And if you haven’t already, work on crafting a good dead-pan stare for when they ask what they should be doing even though you just explained it.
Pencils! Where are all the pencils?
Honestly, how many pencils did you start with this year? 200? 400? Even more than that probably. It is like they all literally grew legs and walked out and are hiding amongst the other mysterious things at the bottoms of the lockers. I am happy to give students pencils when needed, but couldn't some get returned? Welp... I guess I will wait until "Clean Out Your Locker" day.
Master the art of the yoga pants that look like dress pants. (Everyday can be self-care day!). Honestly, we are getting too old not to be comfortable.
Go for broke- Extra Credit.
*Que the last week of the quarter*
Student: "What can I do to get a better grade?"
In my brain: "Better. You could be doing better."
Student: "Can I do any extra credit?"
In my brain, pt 2: "Oh... you need extra credit but haven't attempted the normal credit? Let's start by completing the actual work before even considering the "extra" credit. "
Me actually: Please come see me after class to go over your options.
What time does this class get out again?
Teachers have the rare and odd experience of our day being split into odd time frames. Classes getting out at 8:37 and 11:27, and with different bell schedules for different days can have us confused by the end of the year which class or block we’re in and whether we’ve taught this or that already.
You know you’re at the end of the year when you want to give completion grades for everything. Even essays. Stay strong, teachers! Kids still need meaningful feedback, especially if they are going to be required to use it later on in their education.
By fourth quarter, my brain is so fried from simultaneously teaching multiple books to varied classes and levels that I have to make a conscious effort not to spoil novels for my students when I forget which chapter they are on. Oops! What are the spoiler chapters of the books you teach? I’ll start! Chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies!
Do I really have to clean my room?
Organizing, cleaning, and packing at the end of the year can be cathartic, the pulling paper off the walls and the purging. Do you have to take down everything so they can “paint” even though they never do, or can you leave things up during the summer? Check out these posters you can use for next year!
Get a time machine.
When a parent or student emails asking what the student can do to raise their grade in the final week, resist the urge to tell them to build a time machine. It’s a quick way to blow off steam, but I guarantee it will cause you problems almost immediately. My silent response is to wear socks with pigs with wings on them. That way when a student asks on the last day if they can pass, you can just calmly put your feet up on your desk and let your socks say what you really want to say. (I joke, of course.)
This may read more like a rant, but I hope that by reading this, you recognize some of these as your own thoughts, and you can relate to them, knowing you aren't alone. Even on tough, long days, we matter. We still can matter with a bit of sense of humor to get us through the home stretch.
Hang in there, teachers! You’ve got this!
Which of these can you relate to? How do you know when it’s the end of the school year?