The Many Faces of the End of the School Year

For schools all over the country, the countdown to the last days of school has begun. There is still a lot to accomplish, but in the waning days of the school calendar, there is a lot to ponder for teachers, administrators, and students.

In the quiet of the early morning before the hustle and bustle of teachers rushing to their classrooms and before the halls fill up with students, there’s a veteran principal walking down the silent hallway reminiscing about all great things that have happened on campus as she prepares to retire. She’s been in education for 30 years, as a principal for 20 of those years.

She’s seen education evolve, the good and the bad. She has retirement plans, and she certainly won’t miss the long hours, endless paperwork, angry parents, or campus “drama,” but there’s a tug at her heart when she thinks about how little time she has left on this campus where she has seen so many students blossom. She’ll savor every second of the last few weeks. She’ll cherish the memories of a long, meaningful career in education.

At the same time, on another campus, there is a first year principal staring at the mound of papers on his desk, wondering if he’s even made a difference on campus this year. Has he really made a positive impact anywhere?

He spends so much time on the administrative tasks, handling issues and meetings that he hasn’t spent enough time interacting with teachers and students in classrooms. This year has just been rough! His days are filled nearly 24/7 with school, and he hasn’t spent nearly enough time with his family.

His own children are growing so fast, and he’s essentially missed most of their milestones and activities this year. Maybe he should find a good mentor. Maybe he should return to the classroom to inspire and fuel students’ passion for science. At least he knew he was making a difference in the lives of children when he taught in the classroom. So much to think about.

On a high school campus across town, a teacher is unlocking the door to his classroom. He gazes inside and sees all the equipment ready for the students to create culinary masterpieces.

He thinks about how fortunate he was to be part of the first year on this brand new Career and Tech campus. He’s so proud of his students and all they’ve accomplished. A few have realized that this isn’t the path for them, and he’s been happy to help them move on to other programs. 

As students begin filtering the room, the energy and excitement is contagious. He wishes the year wasn’t almost over, but he’s already got big plans for next year.

In a car on the way to the high school, a group of seniors excitedly discuss all the events happening in the coming weeks.

There’s prom – who is going and who are they going with? Who’s throwing a graduation party? Or should they have one big party together? They’re talking about college and how much they’ll miss each other.

They’re excited but a little nervous. After all, they’ve gone to school together most of their lives, and in a few short weeks, they’ll be facing new adventures in uncharted territory.

On planning time, a second grade teacher who just found out she’ll be on an improvement plan next year sits at her desk sobbing with her head on the table. So many thoughts run through her head. She’s worked so hard all year, but she knows she’s been swimming upstream. She struggles to maintain order in her classroom,and she has to admit her students have basically run the “zoo” all year.

She’s not the teacher she hoped to be. This is harder than she ever dreamed it would be, but that’s just it, all she’s ever dreamed of is becoming a teacher. Can she survive the rest of the year and come back stronger next year? How can she do that? Should she just throw in the towel and move on? Move on to what? For now, she’ll have to get it together and finish the year.

As the school bus pulls away from school, a third grade student sighs. He knows in just a few short weeks, he won’t get to see his teacher anymore. She’s nice to him, and she makes him feel safe. 

He thinks about how much he’ll miss hot meals and snacks. The food at school is so good. He doesn’t have many friends at school, but he’ll miss them because there aren’t any kids to play with in his apartment complex. A tear runs down his cheek as he thinks about the long, lonely summer.

The end of the school year is always a time of mixed feelings, perspectives and change.

Teia Hoover Baker is an educator, published author, and entrepreneur. She is an innovative, devoted educator whose career has been dedicated to coordinating programs that support struggling learners. Her passion is meeting students where they are and guiding them to excel. Her main focus is always what is best for children. Teia holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s of Education. In her spare time, she enjoys being Lovie to her growing grandchildren.

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