THE END. No one is on campus except for teachers and school staff today. Our students wouldn’t recognize us. Clad in jeans, and t-shirts with music blaring in our rooms, we are packing everything away. During the summer maintenance will come throw and scrub our carpets and fix whatever is broken.
The end of the school year is abrupt. Last week, we were knee deep in lessons, and squeezing everything we could out of every day we had. Our classrooms were filled with students, pencils and books. Now, our rooms have all the furniture stacked and pushed in a corner so that the cleaning team can do their work. Yesterday, our campus was teeming with kinder students dressed in their best - which included one kinder who interpreted best as come dressed as Cinderella. It was adorable, and perfect for a kinder promotion ceremony. Now the school is devoid of students, and none of the teachers I’ve seen are dressed in their finest. Although, I’ve seen some pretty hilarious teacher-themed t-shirts.
We have been together in the trenches of trying to empower our students to do their best. We have been united in the struggle as Malala Yousafazi has said, “wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.” We have “picked up our books and pens - our mightiest weapons.” It takes a powerful team for a school to truly be effective. We have that, and we’ve been working together day after day, but after noon today, we will scatter to the winds.
There is a strange harshness to the end of the school year. I imagine it is similar to what it is like to work in the entertainment industry. You work together day after day after day, and then BOOM hiatus. You separate for a few months, and then unite together again; maybe with all the same characters, and maybe with some cast changes. There are people that I have talked to every day for nine months, and I might talk to them once a week after today for the next two months. This makes the celebration of summer, tinged with a sort of quiet sadness.
Don’t get me wrong, I am ready for the break. The pace of the school year is pretty relentless. It is glorious to have a few weeks off. And just as a reminder, we don’t get paid for NOT working, all yearlong a part of paycheck was put on reserve for these months. We are simply getting paid the rest of our money over the summer. In the olden days, teachers just didn’t get a paycheck from June until the end of August and were expected to set aside money themselves. I am really grateful for the change in policy!
And so we crash land abruptly into summer. Like people leaving a dark movie house, we blink blindly at the bright summer sun, and separate into our outside lives. We turn off all our school alarms, and find ourselves settling into a new pace. We take a moment to breathe and reflect. I cannot wait to be in the clear air of Tahoe and sit near the lake with a book in hand. Until then, even at rest, I will . . .
Keep moving forward,