Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A week of Fridays~

I keep thinking it's Friday. It started yesterday--Tuesday. It's most likely wishful thinking, or a sign that I'm trying to do too much all at once. Or . . . I'm not even going to go there. I need a vacation, is all.

The school year is winding down. Of the five days left, one is a Science Fair and another is a field day. The last day is the annual year-end volleyball tournament.

For the most part the kids' required work is done. They know this. I tell them that everything they do from now on will be graded for effort and conduct. This keeps them in check while I'm working through stacks of papers to be corrected and recording grades for year end report cards that must be done before the end of school.

I had my homeroom class last period yesterday, Tuesday. They are a fantastic bunch of 11 year-olds, all twenty-eight of them. Smart, funny, and for the most part, most of the time, well behaved. They're also enthusiastic, energetic, and quite social. AKA "chatty."

Last period they worked with partners on their Science Fair projects. They love this, and are working hard to prove their hypotheses. But they are enthusiastic, energetic, and quite . . . chatty."

So even though they are working "independently," they still need me to answer questions, nod with approval, make suggestions. They need me to say:

"Yes, you can get a book from the library."
"Why don't you look on the computer and see what you can find?"
"Joe, I'm not seeing any effort from you right now."
"Of course you can add more than five vocabulary words to your list."
"Yes, spelling counts!"
"Girls, that conversation sounds off-topic to me."
"Great! I can tell you're working hard."
"I'll listen to your story about your cat later. Right now you need to get back to work."

And so it goes. It's the nature of the job. I start grading, and stop for an interruption, start and stop, start and stop. I get frazzled.

On this particular Tuesday, I said, "Okay, my friends, I want you to use the last five minutes of class to do a Friday pick-up. I want you to make the room sparkle. Make it look like no class has even worked here today. We don't want to come in Monday and have to face this mess."

They stood still, unreadable expressions on their faces.

"Come on, get going. Four minutes to clean up! Move it."

"Mrs. D. It's Tuesday, not Friday," someone said.

My turn to stand still with an unreadable expression. Shit, I thought, only Tuesday?

"Yikes!" I said hitting my forehead with my palm. "I guess I'm off by a few days."

We all laughed. They cleaned up and left for the buses, and I slumped at my desk to finish the stack of papers. It felt just like a Friday! So did today.


Heather said...

cute post, and funny too. hang in there as the year comes to a close! almost done --

leslie said...

I can empathize!! This year is the first one when I don't have to face that end-of-year hassle. Although, I must say I have missed the kids and lots of the other stuff of teaching. Twill all be over soon. Hang in there. :D

Dawn said...

Thanks Ruth for letting me glimpse a day in the life of a teacher. Not having ever taught, I've often wondered what a teacher thinks and feels while in the classroom surrounded by 'chatty' kids. :) Now, being the chatty kid I have plenty of experience at. :) Fun and informative read. Are you officially on vacation yet???


Ruth D~ said...

Thanks for the encouragement to make it to the end. I always do, some years in better shape than others. June 20th is the last official day for this school year.