Monday, May 24, 2010

I've Got That "Over This" Feeling

I think it's kind of like losing that loving feeling, but more school related and less tortured romance.  All over the lovely blogosphere (again, a word I hate using...so nerdy...so very, very nerdy), teachers are counting down the days.  I always preferred big, black Xs on the calendar.  There's such a feeling of satisfaction when you cross those puppies off with a big, fat, black Sharpie.  *shudders*  Love it. 

I'm not so sure what causes this phenomenon in teachers - this obsessive counting down of the days.  Most of us swear up and down that we LOVE our jobs, we LOVE our little friends, that we CAN'T IMAGINE doing anything else...yet, we all know exactly how many days before our next vacation.  My guess is that we really DO love the kids, the teaching, the planning, the classroom...we just get BURNT OUT on all the other crap that seems to be coming at us from every direction!  (Read: standardized tests, data collection, demands on our time, last minute assemblies and canceled field trips, just for starters.)

Regardless of it's origins, this feeling is perhaps it's most intense at the end of the year.  Intense like you can't take it anymore.  Intense like if one more person asks you to "just be flexible and get it done" you might totally lose your shit.  Intense like sometimes you feel like running from the building like your hair was on fire.  (When in reality, it probably means you leave *gasp* before 5 a few days and feel like you've just stolen something...you know, 'cuz it's so early.)

And the temptations to stop teaching are just everywhere.  Kids are over it.  As is exemplified by their inability to sit still, tear their eyes from the window and/or complete work.  Parents are over it.  As is exemplified by their reluctance to check homework anymore, sign permission slips in a timely manner or call you back.  Administrators are over it.  As is exemplified by their unwillingness to deal with any current issues, have a conversation about anything but next year and/or appear interested.  Sometimes I felt like the last stronghold.  The one digging in my (fabulous) high heels and screaming, "The year isn't over yet!  We can still get so much learning in!! " 

But as I watched everyone around me slowly disengage, I fell victim to the joy that is popping in a video or the rationale of "extra recess" on a gorgeous day.  

Yet every time I did this, I felt consumed with guilt and then spent the next feverish evening planning amazing projects and end-of-the-year fabulousness, because I am a guilty person. It's not one of my better qualities.

So....how are YOU feeling?  How are you dealing with The Bitter End???  (Can you see the light yet?  It's there...at the end of the tunnel!)

20 comments:

Teresa said...

Our last day with kids was Thursday of last week. I noticed that LOTS of teachers were checked out already and were having the kids make their last minute preparations for them (packing, moving things, cleaning up) despite our administrators stating emphatically that teaching/learning must be going on up until 3:!0. It was amusing to me to see how the teachers incorporated "learning" into their last minute pack up prep...one teacher made pancakes for the kids from scratch, and pulled both math and science into it. Another gave a "spelling test" in shaving cream while cleaning off the desks. That being said, the kids were sad to leave, as were many of us who were not coming back next year... Happy to be on summer break though! :) I have LOTS of reading to do!

Sneaker Teacher said...

I don't even feel like the end is near...I teach internationally and we don't end until June 24th! I am a specialist though, so once the kiddos start with all of their year end activities, I don't have as much to do because the kids are too busy having fun to be with me :0(

Just noticed your cute new avatar! Love it!

Christina said...

As of today, there are 15 days of school left, 6 days of exams, plus one more day. Yes... I admit to counting them down... as do all the other teachers of the science department at my school. Case in point, our Countdown Post-it Wall (and here too!). Notice that the post-its are not linear... each one of them is placed according to our anticipated frustration level for the day... for example provincial math-testing day is placed much lower than the school BBQ.

Whomever had the worst day gets to pull down the day's post-it note and crumple it up. Instant boost in morale!

John Spencer said...

I know that this is irritatingly peppy, but I don't count down the days. Strange, huh? But I'm not feeling the burnout right now.

Sandy said...

I laughed and cried reading this post. Thank you for sharing it.
My last official day of work at the school I taught at this past year was last Friday, but I still have paper work and moving my stuff out to do.
I am going there today, after taking my resume' to 3 other schools.
Thank you again! Enjoy your last days of this school year and your summer.

Linda said...

We have 18 days of school left, so it doesn't feel like things are winding down too much yet. I'm in the middle of planting a native habitat garden with whole school participation, so until that project is done I'm fully engaged- checking out will not be tolerated until the plants are in! I think teachers have this count down feeling because unlike other jobs ours has actual beginnings and endings. I don't know how I would cope with a job that just goes on and on.

Mweelin said...

This might make you feel better...I'm in Boston, and our last official day of school is Monday, June 28th. Sigh.

Ginger Snaps said...

I firmly believe that all school should cease after the lovely state standardized test! We still have two weeks of "teaching" after that craziness! Talk about bein' burnt out...

halpey1 said...

Ok, I'll see your nerd and up you a big fat dork (me). I'm counting down, dreading it, getting my tissues ready. This is my first year in K and it's ME ME ME that's having separation anxiety already. I am NOT NOT NOT a crier (unless dead pets are involved) and I've cried twice already prepping and planning end of year projects and events. I want my summer, but it's going to be a bittersweet ending for sure.

*Nikki* said...

great post!! I am one that swears by learning all the way to the end! Even if it is fun projects..no reason to lax..or go crazy..that is what summer is for!

Stu said...

9 days left. Lots of mixed feelings about it...

luckeyfrog said...

Thank you!

Almost all of the teacher blogs I read are talking about how they're sad the year is ending, and they will really miss this class...

And while I love the kids, I can't help but be anxious for the regular year to be over. At the end, it feels like we're finding ways to fill time. We try to add learning in, but it's hard to get the room cleaned and everything sent home in the midst of Field Day and Awards Ceremonies.

It's also really hard because the kids are DONE, especially in the upper grades. They have done so much testing, and I think they figure that school is pointless after the test. It's also just exhausting, for students and teachers alike, when you have NWEA, DIBELS, mClass Math, Acuity, and the state test.

I'll be teaching an extended year for our at-risk students, and I'm anxious to get started (although I don't know why they're not giving us even a day's break in between). I am excited to get back to learning, especially because we've been told it's okay to deviate slightly from the curriculum and be a bit more relaxed. Plus- I get to teach science! Yeaaah!

Laura Swain said...

I can only see til tomorrow; the only reason I know how many days are left is because it's inserted into EVERY email sent through the building. My kiddos are having a great time reflecting on our magnifico year (despite how many things I wish I would've covered/taught better/taught at all...) Not only am I dreading saying goodbye to my little stinkers (and dreading having to see them in another classroom in the fall...UGH!), but I'm up to my ears in paperwork and it just now occurred to me that yes, progress reports have to be done as well. That is WAY off in distance to me. Our big number is 12, but I'm just happy to make it to tomorrow.

Laurabeth said...

I was eating ice cream with one of my Super Colleagues after we finally left school today (Okay, we can't really do Happy Hour on Monday, now, can we?) and we agreed that this year things seem a little less overwhelming. Not sure why. It feels a bit like "8 more days to take care of our kids" (as she said) instead of "only 8 more days!" as our illustrious administrator declared during Morning Announcements today.

I think it's okay to love my job AND love my vacation ~ face it, that's part of the job!

redbirdsandwombats said...

I'm feeling EXHAUSTED! But, to be fair, a bit sad too. A lot of my kiddos have come a LOOOOOONG way this year, and I am very proud of them.

On another note... does anyone have a good last-day read aloud?

TeacherJ said...

I am looking forward to a break, but I'm a huge nerd who thinks school is about learning, so we're ending strong with the academics. One of my colleagues told me two weeks ago she'd stopped teaching math, but my class is finishing up a unit next week. Yes, it's the last week of school. Tough.

I do have special end of the year stuff planned, but it's all "reflect on your growth as a writer this year" and "special science day with special science guest!" and "plan for your summer reading". Like I said, huge nerd. The kids don't seem to mind too much. I think the kids whose teachers have totally thrown the routine out the window in favor of FUN FUN FUN are having a tougher time adjusting.

Stu said...

redbirdsandwombats said...

"...On another note... does anyone have a good last-day read aloud?"

Your profile has you as a third grade teacher...It may be too late to start a novel...even a short one, but if it's not one of my favorites is Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox.

If you just have one day to plan...one book, then I like Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. The last couple of lines of the book are, in my opinion, perfect for the end of the year:

"...but really, for now, what more could they wish for? They all had all that they wanted."

Vagabond Teacher said...

Hmmm...do teachers count down the days, or do day counters become teachers? Hahaha...I've been crossing days off of calendars for one thing or another for as long as I can remember.

This has been my first full year of subbing, and I'm exhausted. I'm tired of not being able to predict how much money I'll have. I'm tired of making plans and then getting called to work on those days, or of thinking I'll work and then ending up at home watching TV all day. I'm tired of going into classrooms that are battlefields and trying to figure out what the lesson plans are supposed to mean. Right now, I'm just tired.

And, given the outlook, I'll probably be doing it again next year. And that makes me even more tired.

eshyde said...

Do not EVER feel guilty for giving kids extra outdoor time...notice I don't call it recess? That's because they are doing as much work as they are at a desk (probably more so) just working different parts of them. I won't even go into childhood obesity statistics...but I will say that my school (AKA classroom TEACHERS) takes kids out in the coldest of colds, rainy days (to a covered outdoor area) and WORKS them! Oh the physical exercise and social negotiation they are learning!!!! And I can't forget to throw in a piece about being out in nature which many kids (no matter where we live) are severely missing. This is crucial, important work and learning for kids, becoming connected to a sense of place and to nature. I teach in the city and there are many beautiful parks with patches of grass to play in.

BECOME PRO-OUTDOORS!

redbirdsandwombats said...

Thanks, Stu! We already did lots of Roald Dahl, including Fantastic Mr. Fox. In fact, I'm giving away copies of a few of his books for reading prizes next week and WOAH are they serious about winning them!

I'll give Sylvester a try... reading the last few lines made me tear up a bit, so we'll see how it goes!

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