OUR 177th DAY OF SCHOOL MARKS THE END of regular classes. From here on out it is promotion ceremonies, field trips, and barbecues. My reading students sweated out the last hour in my classroom. In an effort to lower overall cost, the district took control of all our thermostats. The lowest I can turn my air down to is 72 degrees, which might not seem that warm unless you’ve got a room filled with 26 4th and 5th graders who just spent twenty minutes playing soccer in 90 degree heat.
We enjoyed one last assignment, and when one student started to complain about having to “work”, another one said, “Remember, she told us she doesn’t quit.” It is true. I did say that last week when they pleaded to quit working and have a snack party instead. Apparently, someone was listening when I gave my standard, “If we are here together, we might as well work.”
Truth be told, they just had to fill out a survey so they could reflect on their school year. As far as work goes it wasn’t much. I let them play some games on the computer. They are currently OBSESSED with this typing game with racing cars. The fast you type, the faster you car goes. Most of them are typing around 40 wpm. I get some serious street cred because they know I can type around 90 WPM. They brag to other classes, “No way, your teacher types faster than Mrs. Ellison.” Hey, you gotta do whatever it takes to bring ‘em to your side in the classroom. It turns out that Napa High’s blank keyboards were something I was grateful for later in life. That’s right my typing class had typewriters (ask your grandma) with BLANK KEYS. It was a sink or swim situation.
Now, I begin the work of cleaning and organizing my classroom. Some schools make you take EVERYTHING down - even if you are staying in the same room. We just need everything picked up and the floors clear so they can clean the carpets. I’m thinking of REALLY going through my cabinets tomorrow. It has become sort of a DISASTER in there. Some teachers use the last day or so of school to enlist their students to help with clean up. I let them do small things like help me carry all my computers to the lab where they get locked up for the summer, or carry some books to the classroom next door. But I have a hard time going beyond that. My first teaching years were at a private school, and I know one teacher got chewed out by parent after she had her students help her sort out her room. “I’m not paying $15,000 a year for my kid to do YOUR manual labor.” Fair point. Beside we have so few days with our students.
Here’s how the end of school year goes: As a teacher, I get super reflective and nostalgic. I am filled with all kinds of feelings as I see my students. I wish we’d had more time together. I wonder if I have taught them enough. My students, on the other hand, are super excited to go their friend’s house, or have a slice of the 5th grade promotion cake, or get that ONE BOY to sign their yearbook. Their emotions have very little to do with me. This year, more than any other year, I have been hearing so many of our 5th graders saying they don’t want to leave us. That is just what you want them to say. You want to build a place so warm, and happy that they don’t want to go. “You will always be part of the #phillipsfam I tell them. You are always my student.”
Tomorrow is kind of a funny day. I am doing the messy work of cleaning up, but pause in the middle of it all in order to present awards at our 5th grade promotion. I have to dress both nice, and kind of messy. The first year I worked at this school, I didn’t realize that. I was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt to award trophies to the top tech and reading students. It was a little bit embarrassing.
So we’ve come to the end of another year. As for this blog, I imagine I will update it for the next few days, but might take a little break for a bit. I’ve tried to write mostly about my year in the classroom, and I won’t be hanging around that room for a little bit of time. My boring summer life might not enthrall you. Then again maybe I’ve been boring all along . . . Either way, I am going to . . .
Keep moving forward,