Another Year Bites the Dust
I don’t care what the calendar says, life isn’t organized January to December–the school year rules the day. It’s been years since I worked every day in a school, yet I still find myself experiencing the highs and lows of school–when it begins and when it ends.
So in the last month as many of you have written about the mania of closing out the year, I empathize. It’s a huge countdown. It begins with the rumor mill about how the district will balance the always shrinking budget–how many jobs will be cut, who will move to different schools, what curriculum can no longer be offered. It’s followed by the announcements that confirm those suspicions and fears. And then, through the spring and summer, a few positions are restored, a few jobs are saved. Sometimes its because of a retirement or a move, or sometimes its because those responsible got a whiff of what it would be like without that staff. Regardless, the whole process is agonizingly hard on everyone.
Can you imagine what it would be like to teach in a place that didn’t go through this dance every spring? To know that your funding was secure and that essential educational opportunities for students were never, ever on the chopping block again. That means every school, regardless of the grades, would have music, P.E., drama, and art for every student. There would be a renewal in the band and orchestra programs and new sports, not just football and baseball, would be offered including yoga, fitness training, and dance. Computers wouldn’t be a class – they would just be. The library would overflow with books and iPads and excitement. Remember cooking and shop classes? A 21st century version of both would blossom and students would sign up in droves. Science labs would be able to expand past the basic curriculum, offering promising young students a world of wonder and mystery at their fingertips. Math classrooms would hum with energy and investigation, while social studies classes would take place out in the world they are studying, not anchored in a textbook. And English classes would be rich with books and ideas as students learned how to write from Traits Writing. Everyone would be happy; everyone would read. That’s what stable funding would do. That’s what our students deserve.
Teachers and administrators deserve it to. This time of the year shouldn’t be about how everyone survived the year but rather a period to adjust, reinvent, and renew for next year. Every educator has a right to be exhausted by the end of the year, but not from frustration–they should feel bone tired from teaching.
I celebrate you for your passion to help students learn. May the close of this school year bring you a sense of fulfillment and purpose that you richly deserve. Shrug off day-to-day frustrations for a few minutes and take stock of what you have accomplished. Look at the faces of those students who drive you nuts right along with those who are so easy to be around. They know how much of yourself you gave every single day. They will miss you.
Then go home and rest because it all starts again before you know it. That’s the one thing you can count on.