The end of the school year is approaching. If you’re a teacher, here is how you know:
1. We treat ourselves to the “end-of-the-year” pedicure that we definitely deserve
I know several teachers who may only get two pedicures a year. One is at the start of the year. And one is that happy hoorah when toes make their first appearance after a long winter.
2. We package up our winter boots and bring up our sandals from the basement
I look forward to my first sandal day every school year. In my Ohio world, I know that I risk a frosty walk in the morning. But I know that I’ll walk out to sunny skies, and so I stay firm in my choice. After all, our buildings remain the same always-cold-enough-to-need-a-cardigan all year anyway, so the sandals are just to make me happy. Even when April decides to send snow our way, still, we stand strong, willing summer to please make an appearance.
3. We trade our tired black pants for dresses
If we’re lucky, dresses with pockets. It’s time for them to hibernate. We need spring colors and floral prints. We need to look like sunshine and channel that outer feeling to our inner souls when we reach a point in the year that is met with stress of standardized testing, a tornado of student behavior, and the second round of evaluations.
4. We say goodbye to crockpot leftovers
And hello to leafy green salads. On my first sandal day of the spring, a teacher said to me, “My toes were ready for sandals today, but I sadly did not commit. I did pack a salad, though.” It occurred to me that for teachers, this is a sign of summer. A time when we skim past our instant-pot pins on Pinterest and scroll down to the summer salad section.
5. We know our kids well enough at this point to have a secret “A-Team” in our heads
At this point in the year, I have a secret list of superstars that I keep in my head in case of emergencies, like a teacher-drafted team of Ultimate Frisbee or if I get asked to go on another teacher’s field trip, and I get to choose my group.
6. We get asked, “Can we go outside?” every single day
When the sun decides to show up, students will always ask to throw out the lessons and play on the playground. I am not talking about elementary school students. I am talking about my 11th graders. Here’s the thing, I also want to go outside. So, I made the mistake of telling them, “When it gets warmer, we’ll try and move our instruction outside.” Now, each day it is above 60 degrees, I can count on their pleas to go outside. So, I like to plan for one day that we can go outside and maybe listen to a podcast episode while we sit on the grass.
7. We roll out our final units and make them fun
Of course it is still aligned to the standards, it is still rigorous, it is still work for both student and teacher, but, usually, this is the time (post-standardized testing) to get the most creative and end the year with a little fewer restraints. This year, I had my students research topics interesting to them, and they will write and record podcast episodes as a group! We’ve had lots of lessons, reading, writing, and research throughout the unit, but I always love giving my students creative control and watching them grow while learning about something that they truly are interested in. It’s less formal than a traditional research paper but still meets the standards. I can’t wait to hear the episodes at the end of the year!
8. We get that final email saying that “the requisitions will close for this year soon,” and start to panic order post-it notes and colored pencils
We know budgets are always tight. But we look at our sad stash of cap-less pens and our final Expo marker and worry we may just not make it until the end of the year. We know that at this time in the school year, the staff supply cupboard looks like a K-Mart that went out of business with just a few jumbo paper clips littering the shelves.
9. We cross our fingers that our field trips will be approved
At this point in the year, we’re looking for a change of scenery. The students are mentally checking out, and field trips provide the kind of inspiration that we’re all looking for. Even as an adult, it is still exciting to load up the buses with our packed lunches and head somewhere new.