The end of the school year does feel slightly apocalyptic. The children are not themselves. I am not myself. And we have no work left to do. This week is an odd mixture of babysitting, cleaning, and sentiment. I veer from pulling my hair out to getting a little teary thinking about how it’s the last time they’ll all sit in their desks, heads bent, quietly crafting letters of advice to next year’s 6th graders. And then they throw all the trash from their lockers on the floor and call it clean, and I’m back to tearing my hair out by the roots.
In an attempt not to go down as the least fun teacher in history, we had a sad little paper chain with one fun thing per day for the last 6 days. The funny thing is, I thought these ideas were super lame, but they have been so happy to have a little cheer in their school days.
On Thursday they were allowed to write in pen. Pencil is the name of the game in 6th grade, so this was a big, big deal.
On Friday they were allowed to sit wherever they wanted in homeroom. Because of our Friday schedule, this meant they were allowed to choose a new seat for about 15 minutes before heading to their blocks. But they were still happy.
On Monday they were allowed to eat during free-reading time in the afternoon. The lack of snacks in the afternoon is still a tragedy for some of my little people, so again this was monumental.
And today they were allowed to chew gum, an infraction which usually results in recess on the bench if I’m strict or spitting it into the trash if I’m feeling lenient. They had so much gum in their mouths today. They just kept popping piece after piece. I myself am an ardent gum chewer, but they were making my jaw ache.
Tomorrow is hats inside the buildings. Hats all day. This is handy because it’s about 40 degrees and rainy and we’re due to have a party outside tomorrow. Stocking caps all around!
And of course the last day will involve the holy grail – the white board. Writing on the white board is not an everyday thing. It’s not even a monthly thing. But on the last day, messages will be written on the white board for next year’s class. No one has ever quite picked up on the fact that I’ll erase it (probably with tears in my eyes because I’m a sap) a few days later.
And that will be that. No more school. Nothing but so many teacher meetings and classes, and then freedom for a few months before the whole cycle begins again.