The end of the school year is hard. The weather is so nice that we would all rather be outside than stuck looking at textbooks indoors. So many hours have been invested in subjects that by now, no one really seems all that interested in learning the material contained in the final chapters.
And yet, we have final exams to complete. The last few worksheets need to be finished. Reports need to be written.
I have struggled with school-time focus for several weeks now. Most days I have to really try to stay on task, rather than getting lost in a world of email or Pinterest. My kids are motivationally challenged as well. But we keep plowing through, knowing the end is in sight. Summer vacation is merely eight school days away for our family.
Until recently, I thought maybe we were the only ones challenged with this issue. But then I took a look around. Upon careful observation, I noticed that many of us responsible for educating children are facing difficulties pushing through the end of the year.
These are my favorite examples:
- The music teacher was wearing a tutu today.
When I picked my daughter up from the public school this morning, her music teacher was wearing a pink tutu over the top of her professional teaching clothes. I found this funny and also a little bit odd. But then I remembered that I have watched this woman daily at her work for almost nine months now.
I have an incredible amount of respect for what this teacher does every single day. Several of the children in my daughter’s class have significant (really significant) behavior challenges. She handles these issues with professionalism, care, and respect. And the next day? She seems genuinely cheerful to hang out with the kid that was kicking her in the shins and screaming really inappropriate words at her the day before. If she needs to wear a tutu to get her through to the end of the school year, more power to her.
- The flute teacher is leading students on a musical tour…of the school.
I have only observed this teacher from a distance, but I hear stories about him every other day. He bribes his trombone players into cooperation by serving them orange juice (with pulp). The flute class routinely performs musical interludes for the lunch ladies while they prepare noontime meals. He frequently makes jokes that only he understands.
And now? My daughter and her classmates are carrying their instruments, music stands, and sheet music around while performing for students and staff throughout the school. Last week they all crammed in the main office and played for the administrative folks. Soon, they will be in various student centers.
Whatever gets this teacher through the day, right? This guy finds very creative ways to get his class of teenage girls to learn their music inside out. Plus, they are better performers for it, too.
In a couple of weeks, most everyone will take a break from school for the summer. We all need it to recharge our batteries, enjoy a slower pace, and have some fun.
Our family will not be taking a complete break from school, but life will get simpler. We have 4H projects to complete and competitions to participate in. I will give the girls credit for language arts (public speaking), art, and health (nutrition) when they are done. Two of the kids will participate in summer dance events and camps (physical education). And one kiddo will still be doing basic reading, math, writing, and therapeutic work throughout the summer so that she can be officially caught up with her peers by the start of next school year in August.
In the meantime, I am steering clear of my computer during the school day as much as possible. If I avoid the temptation, it is easier for me to stay focused. And in two weeks when our school year is done? I will fill my time by planning and preparing for the next academic year…with the aid of my laptop.
Are you struggling to get through the end of the school year? How do you push through? Let me know in an email or comment below!