A Foot In Two Worlds

The decision is made and the die has been cast. For a short while longer I will have a foot in two worlds – the one I will be leaving and the one that I am going into.

Next week is my last week in the classroom and Thursday morning will be the last day with my students.This is typically the toughest week of the school year, grades closed Friday and the kids have pretty much decided they are done and have checked out of school mode and there is nothing that anyone can do to bring them back. They are tired of the teachers, tired of the building, many are tired of each other. Most are just tired of school, its demands and regimentation of their lives. It has been a long year this year for students and teachers.

As I plan what I am going to do Monday and Tuesday (Wednesday is 7th Grade Field Day/8th Grade Field Trip and Thursday is a shortened day where we get to say goodbye for the year and give out reports cards, then work on cleaning up our rooms) it does feel different than in the past.
Monday will be the day that I announce to the students that I will not be back to teach them next year (we loop with our 7/8 grades).  I am not looking forward to that, but I do believe that they need to know and that way we can say our goodbyes over the course of the week. Some will need/want a little extra time to adjust to this. It will matter to some, to others it won’t.

I do know that the last day of school for students, is traditionally my final student appreciation day of the year and I imagine that I will do Hillman’s doughnuts, that after-all is part of the tradition.  I have a feeling that it will be a good day and I will say my final goodbyes to most of them. I don’t live in the community where I teach, so for many of these students I will probably never see them again after Thursday.

I usually try to keep a regular schedule up to the last day of classes, this year instead of beating my head against the wall that the students have put up, I plan to enjoy the last week I am a teacher at Lawrence Junior High School and have some fun, while still keeping some semblance of academics.

Usually I start the planning process for next year during this week and try to have some plans in place so that I can work on them over the summer:

  • Looking at what supplies need to be replaced
  • SSR Books that need to be replaced
  • Reflecting back on what did and didn’t work in the classroom to determine things I can do differently or if there are areas I need training or to read up on to improve.
  • Thinking which parents I should contact before I leave for the summer
  • Finish packing the room up so that books and supplies that are left do not go missing
  • Putting together my summer reading list
  • Figuring out the rough outline of what the class syllabus is going to be based on the curriculum, so I can start preparing lesson plans ahead of time or the lesson plans that I want to re-use/improve
  • Confirming my summer training activities where I am the learner or presenter
  • Make sure that my Special Ed files are up to snuff, so I don’t have surprises when coming back from summer break
It is strange because there is no next year there for me and I don’t have to worry about this list.
In the past when I have given notice, it was almost always because I was leaving to go to a different job, so I was preparing myself for a new position by reading what my new supervisor suggested (policies, regulations or methods) that I needed to know coming into the new position or taking a courses related to the new job.This year is different – I am going down the road not taken and I do not have a job waiting for me.

It will be good to be able to focus more on things that are important to me, not my employer. I look forward to improving family relationships, getting the things that I need to do around the house done, getting back in shape, learning new skills that I didn’t have time for in the past and all the while not being pressured by the calendar or the clock after next week.

That is the biggest difference that I am looking forward to in this transition – moving beyond those constraints on our lives that doing the daily grind brings.

While I can think about all the different things that this new phase in my life will bring me, I will be patient and finish out the rest of this year the way I want and go out on a good note.

Some things will just have to wait until the end of the week, when I can put both of my feet in one world.

Until then I still have “A Foot In Two Worlds”.