Today we began our day by gathering in the cafeteria for a breakfast and a short faculty meeting. We speak of summer plans. We also talk a bit about next year’s needs but we make an effort to not obsess about it. Already the pressure is gone with knowing there is no class to prepare for. There are no more tests to grade. There are no more labs to prep. No more lessons to plan. It feels good.
We spend our day clearing out our rooms. A student arrives to work on his extended essay in Biology. We sort out his supplies and make a game plan for August. I make my way through the desk, shelves, and lab space. I have to admit, there are moments where the through creeps through my mind, “I am never getting out of here” as I see the mounds of papers needing sorting, dirty lab supplies, the living organisms, odds and ends, and just STUFF. I realize that even though I really love my job, I’m ready for a break. My checkout sheet is signed. I just want to go home.
Teachers assemble on the playground just after 2:00 with smells of the BBQ wafting through the air. The sun beats upon us and it does, indeed, feel like summer. Being outside clears our minds and allows us to truly focus on what lies ahead. I make my way around the group, trying to touch base with as many people as possible, especially giving my good wishes to staff members who won’t be here next year.
“Well, I need to go pack up my fish and stuff” I remark to a small group as I prepare to return to my classroom. A colleague bursts out in laughter, “If I had a dollar for every time I said that…..’pack up my fish and stuff’”. He’s genuinely amused. I guess we’re all feeling lighter with another year behind us and summer plans upon us.
The school feels absolutely empty by 3:30. After my turtle and fish are ready for transport, I load up a cart, say my final good-byes and lug my things to the car. It’s 4:00 and pretty much everyone is gone. There is a silence. You can feel that everyone is both physically and mentally gone from the school right now.
What is it about our profession? Why are we so wiped out by the end of the school year? Truthfully, the two months without classes hardly seem enough to fully recover!
Once home, I set up the fish and turtle for their temporary summer residence and I relax. No emails. No planning. No reading. It feels good. Though many of us will engage in school related activities this summer, I wish teachers everywhere a relaxing, refreshing, and energizing summer!