On Monday night, around 10 pm, I was preparing for our last week of school when I heard a dim roar. Then, a few minutes later, I heard it again. A minute later (48 seconds, to be exact) I heard a third roar. What was it? While I was home preparing our teacher’s End of Year Rubric conversations, the Nashville Predators were scoring three quick goals and advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. In six minutes, the game went from a tie to a blowout.
It was the exact motivation I needed to finish the year.
Here’s the thing. Unlike hockey games, the end of the school year can be uneventful.
As a first year teacher, I slouched towards the last day. We held parties. Students cleaned the classroom. Attendance dropped and recess got longer. The goal was to pass time.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with field days. They’re wonderful. Field lessons are even better. I am talking about a different phenomenon. Here’s a taste. Years ago, as our last week of school began, I arrived to see two colleagues fight over our school’s sole DVD Player. They compromised and decided to show movies to both classes — attendance was so low that all students fit in a single room — and called the last week of school “The 7th grade Film Festival.”
Today, I am a school leader. I’m responsible for what happens every day and feel particularly responsible for the last week. Here’s what our school looks like:
- We held a Field Day and End of Year Concert.
- We held a pajama day, mix-match day.
However, we are also
- studying exciting novels and writing essays on their themes;
- enticing second graders by giving them an introduction to third grade mathematics standards;
- providing additional tutoring to students on key skills;
- giving summative assessments on, yes, the last day of school.
Walking through our school, you wouldn’t know whether it’s day 18 or 180, and I love that. It’s a tremendous credit to our staff. As the year ends, they’ve amazed me every single minute.
Here’s why. If you woke up Tuesday and checked the score of the Predators game, you’d think it was a blowout. However, with 90% of the game done, the score was tied. It took urgency, stamina, and dedication to play until the clock ran out. And it made all the difference.
Our school’s final days might make all the difference to a child. This week, scholars have fallen in love with geometry and Judy Blume’s Freckle Juice. More importantly, they’ve learned the importance of always doing and giving your best. With apologies to the Predators, I think our scholars and teachers are champions, too. They still have four more games to win. As I write this, we have one more day to teach. We both aren’t done yet!