I survived the end of school. Some may look at the school year and think, wow..what a long gig, but seriously, the end of school is the big deal. Once the standardized testing is over, the kids and I looked at each other and couldn’t help but wonder why we were still there?? A teacher friend from Texas informed me that in her state, after the tests were done, parents were allowed to keep their kids home from school. Sounds fantastical, but then again, it is Texas….they do things their own way there.
The final few weeks of school were full of activities, both educational and extracurricular. Since we had a ‘certain period of time’ where we did not actually take grades on the work the students did, I was able to spice things up in the classroom. Instead of the normal, basic lessons, I threw in lots of group projects, art projects, experiments, etc. I wish I could teach like that all the time.
There are two problems with teaching like that all the time. The first problem is that as teachers, we simple have to get through a certain amount of work in each subject each day/week/month/semester/year. We are on tight schedules for the amount of knowledge we are required to stuff into these spongey little brains. It is a race against time every single day.
The second reason is that it takes a lot of creativity, organization, and classroom management to pull in extra stuff. I feel like I have those things, but it can be easy to lose control of things. Lucky for me, I kept control, we got super creative, and I think the kids did actually learn a few things. (always a bonus!)
I was lucky to be involved with the end of year talent show at my school. I was amazed at the amount of talent and, frankly, the balls on these little kids! When I was in first grade, there was no way on this beautiful green earth I would have stood up in front of a bunch of adults and audition for a talent show by singing accapella. It blew my mind! We had amazing singers, dancers, comedians, pogo stickers, piano players, etc. It was a big deal.
My favorite part of the show was when one particular girl got up to sing “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (before she went rogue). When this girl had auditioned, she had been one of those ballsy youngsters that just sang it out without the music. When she performed, she had the karaoke music behind her. I tell you what, no matter what that music did…she stayed on pitch…with herself. She was almost a third off the entire time. But she was consistent. What I loved was that, in spite of her pitch being off, the entire audience started clapping along and supporting her and the energy went through the roof! It happened in both performances. It made me cry.
There are some good schools out there that teach good stuff. They have high standards and excellent curriculum and teachers.There are schools you can almost bank on to get your kids into college or on a sports team. My school is amazing in a different way. Yes, we have hard curriculum. Yes, we have awesome teachers. But what stands us apart is that we build leaders. We teach these spongey brained young people what it means to be a leader, an example, a supporter, and an all around good person.
I was proud of the students the day of the talent show, but I’m proud of them every day. I’m proud to be a part of a school that is building these kind of people. I feel the heavy responsibility of being part of that teaching force and I take it very seriously.
This is why I plan to save my belching contest lesson until the end of next year…..because I said so.
Photo credit: http://www.gottasing-gottaplay.com