Monday, May 16, 2011

Getting To The Point

There comes a point in every school year where a teacher says, "By golly, I think I'm done!"  Hopefully, that point arrives on the last day of classes because it is mighty inconvenient when it happens beforehand.  I've had it play out both ways.  Sometimes I make it to the finish line, breathe a sigh of relief and wave a merry goodbye to my colleagues.  Other times...not so much.

This is one of the "other" years.  I think it hit me last Tuesday when I stayed home for a doctor's appointment.  The fact that this impromptu holiday was taken at the request of my staff should probably be an indicator of my doneness, but that didn't occur to me at the time.  Mostly I was just kind of giddy to be home all snuggled up and knitting for most of the day.

It all got me to thinking about being "done" for the year and that was it for me.  Now I have to go in for another month of school, all the while thinking about being done and how unfair it is that I am expected to go to work each day and fulfill the contract I signed.  I am filled with the bitter taste of resentment at the injustice of it all.

And it's not just me.  I could see how someone might think that I'm being overly eager to end this educational nightmare and send these kids on their way, but it honestly isn't my issue alone.  I know this for a fact.  Kids ask me every day how much longer they have until summer vacation.  They ask me while they are not doing their work or kicking back for a nice snack instead of listening to me tell them all about geography.  They all feel as though things have gotten overwhelming.  When they can't find the words, they tell me by falling asleep in the middle of one of my brilliant lectures.

One student has been proving this point with enough force to leave emotional scars upon me lately.  Every morning, this usually kind-hearted lad is spewing enough venom to kill a small army and following it up with few verbal gut punches aimed right at his teacher's self-esteem.  Because he is a good kid almost all the time, we are trying to bear up under the assault knowing that there has to be a good reason for why he's lashing out these days.

Today, however, I perhaps got around to remembering that I was "done."  When the young man fell apart during his tour of the high school, refused to eat anything at a time when he really needed to, almost made himself sick and then returned to class to loudly blame everyone for his morning, I think we'd all had enough.  There was a marked lack of sympathy to be found in the classroom after the past couple of weeks.  Things got better after that, but I still felt a little miffed over his inability to sense my being "done."

Before he left for the day, he mentioned that he was hungry and looking forward to getting a snack.  He had, after all, missed lunch.  I ask you, how much more was I to take?  I had to speak up again.

"You know, no fewer than three people offered to help you out with that.  You could have eaten if you wanted to."

Without missing a beat, he shot back, "No I couldn't.  I was too full of righteous indignation at the time."

We laughed for five minutes straight and now I'm starting to think I'm going to survive being "done" even if I'm not exactly "finished." Maybe there are a few good moments left in this school year.



Lynne said...

What a great line from a middle school student!

trek said...

Hmm. Done. I was "done" last week. This week, however, I am only just starting. Ah, the joys of the summer session.

Hang in there, Sheepie: you are now going to be finished before I will.

Gracey is not my name.... said...

I am so "done." Most of the kids have been done since we got back from April break. We have 5 weeks left...I took a personal day today and have one more...and then of course Memorial Day..So I have 4 days this week, 5 next, 4 the following, another 4 and then 5...then officially I'm done....We also have two field trips, spring concert and field day thrown in there...I hate field day...

Donna Lee said...

You're almost done. I look forward to this time of year because my folks tend to be less depressed in the longer days and more abundant sunlight. It makes my job a little easier.

And btw, Happy Birthday!!! I hope the TA's (cheerful and otherwise) recognize your day in an appropriate manner.

Cursing Mama said...

I'm usually full of righteous indignation too, although I've always got room for lunch.

ThePrincess has been counting down the days for more than a month... I suggested a paper chain but she thought it would be too depressing to make in the beginning.

Elaine said...

I can no more imagine having your job than....... well, I just can't imagine it. You're a Goddess.

Anonymous said...

Your feeling of being done is purely an outgrowth of your desire that your young charges be set free from the shackles of schoolroom discipline to explore the wonders of a Maine summer. Yeah, that's it. Really.

Julia G said...

You just described my day (including the lunch-eating controversy) at work surrounded by adults who ought to know better, minus the snappy comeback and personal insight :-) Hope it gets better!