It’s summer! I feel similar to the runner in the very first marathon, who announced, “Rejoice! We conquer.” And then dropped dead. Except I announced, “Holy %$*!, we’re done!” And then slept for two days.
Due to snow days, we were in school really REALLY late. During the snow days, many people reminded me that when June came, I would wish we hadn’t had snow days. “No way!” I yelled, and then ran off to scale giant snow piles in parking lots after drinking a lot of wine.
They were right. I regret it.
It hit the mid-90s in late May. This triggered the “vacation center” in all children’s brains, which told them that learning was done. On May 24, I had a kid say to me “Come on, what else do we have to learn about?” My brain exploded slightly at this, and internally I screeched Electricity? Immigration? Persuasive essays? Probability? Root systems? Decimals? I tried to vocalize this, but only was able to make a noise akin to a leaky tea kettle that was boiling, and then sputter “Dudes, we have another MONTH!”
Over that next month, I managed to teach them at least portions of these things. The last week approached. We had field day and our class party was on a Wednesday. Cleaning and organizing on Thursday. I don’t actually know what we did Friday. The last day was Monday, and a half day. The decision to send us in to essentially babysit for 3 and a half hours after a weekend was one that no one was happy about.
My original plan was to just play capture the flag outside all day. By 9:30, it was in the mid-80s. We went out, carrying a large bag of water bottles. By 10:15, we had drank all the water, it was well above 90 and seriously humid, and the kids looked like wilting flowers. We made it until 10:30 before I was worried about heatstroke, and we went back in.
Ok, we’ll watch a movie! Luckily I have a SmartBoard, which I can hook my computer up to and project anything onto. It worked reliably all year. However, like most electronic equipment, it knows when you need it most, and will quit then. Classroom electronics (maybe all electronics) are tools of the devil, and have become self aware.
I tried desperately to get it to work, while the kids ate their snacks and yelled completely illogical advice about how to fix it. “Bring it to China!” was my personal favorite.
So I grabbed the book we had been reading and asked my assistant to read the last chapters while I alternately hit and wept at my computer. The book in question was about the massive fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in New York in the early 1900s. It tied in to the curriculum about the labor movement and the Industrial Revolution, but my decision to make the final read aloud of the year about horrific death and destruction was questionable.
My poor assistant read something along the lines of “And as the fire raged, those inside tried desperately to escape, even leaping from the windows.” Someone piped up, “Who picked this book? This is DEPRESSING!”
At this point in the year and my mental state, subterfuge was out. “I picked it!” I yelled. “I don’t know what I was thinking! I’m sorry. This is depressing.” “Is the board working?” Another yelled. I shook my head. “Did you try clicking the blue button twice?” “There is no blue button.” I pointed out. “Well, there’s your problem.” Huffed the expert.
Miraculously, we got it to work, found a movie on netflix, and the kids collapsed on beanbags and chairs in front of it. I spent some time cleaning and organizing, but eventually collapsed along with them, laying on my back and trying to drink leftover flat seltzer from the party without pouring it on my face. I was unsuccessful.
As I lay there, my legs on an overcrowded bean bag, seltzer covering me, and a small child weaving yarn into my hair, it occurred to me that I would miss my small friends. Luckily, I get them all back next year. So as the buses were called, I hugged them all. Some squeezed me tightly, some gave me a half armed hug, some high fived me and ran away before I could get too affectionate. But as they ran off, I wasn’t emotional, wasn’t distraught. I was glad for a break. I LOVE my crazy friends, but right now, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.