So today was the last day of school, and I have to say that it's an entirely different experience on this side of the podium. The kids are out of their minds with excitement and full of loads of energy and sudden bursts of affection, while I am so concerned about their grades that I feel physically ill and I am actually angry with a couple of them. We can only do so much, we can only do so much-- another of the mantras of the public school teacher. I can show you food if you're starving, but I can never make you eat it. I can show you water if you're thirsty, but I can't make you drink.
And there is literally no way to bring a 60 up to passing on the last day of school. One of my co-workers experienced that conversation today. A parent actually came with her daughter-- a really good kid-- to see if there was "anything she can do to pass your class." At 2:30. After exams. 30 minutes before grades are due. So, uh... huh? Where were you a month ago? My co-worker is more than reasonable-- but that's kind of ridiculous.
You know, I see it like this: the kids and parents are our clients, so we have to do what we can to help them out, but sometimes I am blown away with the expectations-- unreasonable, unrealistic, irresponsible-- that they seem to put on the people around them (their childrens' teachers, their bosses, the mortgage lender who "tricked" them into a bad loan, etc.). And it's an unusual arena: we deal with every KIND of clientelle. My friend who is a financial planner tends to deal with a certain kind of client. My friend who is a real estate agent tends to deal with a certain kind of client. But public school teachers? "Free and public education." Everyone has a right to it. Bar none.
Anyway, I'm tired. I don't mean to sound so down on the system because I'm not-- I LOVE my job, my boss(es), my school, and my kids. I believe in public education, no matter how much many of the people I admire denigrate it (Neal Boortz, et al.). I love the fact that kids from all kinds of backgrounds can sit in my classroom and have access to the same information and opportunities. Granted, there are times when there can be serious discussions about that...
Okay, time to go breathe. Our school is being painted (YAY!!) so we had to move all of our furniture to the center of our rooms and I'm BEAT! I also HATE the way it looks when it's in transition like that-- it was so depressing to look at blank walls during 7th period. Some of my kids really wanted to help, so I let them pull stuff down and it was bad. Just like a cell block. I looked over at one of the girls who was watching and we both just shook our heads.... DEpressing.
But I should also include a very bright spot: Sweet Sydney brought me flowers!!! :) MADE my day!!! I'm going to miss that kid-- but that's one of the great things about teaching 9th grade: we get to know our kids for 3 more years. Of course, there's at least one kid I could do without knowing, but anyway... flowers! See? They smelled GREAT! Beautiful!!!