The end of the year is looming but we can’t put on the brakes just yet! There’s no winding down, no foot off the accelerator and gently gliding into the sultry summery abyss- this is actually what it’s like for us teachers:
Money, money, money
So, you’ve spent a fair whack on getting your classroom set up in September, making it look the bees knees and the envy to all your colleagues. Hours spent making new posters and dangly bits in your classroom to get the wow factor and make your kidlets gasp with delight when they enter their new classroom for the first time. You then have spent more on purchasing costumes for various dress-up days throughout the year which you hope you’ll be able to dust off and use again at some point in your teaching career (well, you can’t use it next year as all the kidlets would’ve seen you in it before and that’s just soooo last season!).
Then there’s Christmas where you say you’re not going to get into the Christmas spirit and be a bit of a Scrooge but you end up buying Christmas cards for all and sundry at school inc. having some spare for the ones who are not in your class but feel guilty that they’ve given one to you so you hastily write one at lunchtime and add it to the Christmas postbox when no one is looking.
Then the Christmas party- your classroom has to have that festive look, again, you try to be a miser...two tonnes of tinsel and glitter later and it looks like a fairy has thrown up sparkledust all over your room but it makes the kidlets so happy. Onward to the new year when you end up buying more resources, books etc because there’s ‘no budget’ for it and you think, well, what’s a few pennies pounds?!
Easter arrives and you’re buying a job lot of Easter eggs for your kidlets in Aldi. Before you know it your bank balance is wincing every time you reach for the debit card, convincing you to bung it on the credit card- coz it doesn’t really mean you’ve spent it if you put it on their right??!
Summer is easing its way forward after a stressful first half of SATs and tests, kidlets are brain-fried and so are we, ready for that last relaxing half term...BUT OH NO! Don’t you be thinking ‘that’s it’ now my teaching crew! There’s still the end of year gifts to get everyone, the thank you cards, the class party/picnic or whatever else is thrown at you. Can I manage to buy 30+ thoughtful gifts for under a tenner?! Most likely not. Spending hours making certificates and laminating them at home (there are no laminating pouches left at school so you have to buy your own), only to find you’ve used whiteboard pens to scribe beautiful calligraphy with and it all disappears as it goes through the flippin’ laminator (true story).
You’ve made it! Made it to the end of the year, you make your way to the alcohol aisle on that first glorious summer food shopping trip and find a handful of other colleagues fighting over the last bottle of Prosecco and Pimms. £200 later and you’re boot is weighed down with what you hope will get you through the summer when, as a matter of fact, it’ll get you through the final throngs of the World Cup (if you’re into that). Now that trusty debit card lies wilted next to you, willing you to give it a rest for the next 6 weeks...but there’s that new box set that’s been top priority to ‘watch when I’m free’ and you just can’t resist!
Oh, that word can literally send shivers down any teachers spine. Now each school does it differently, I’ve worked in over 9 and they all do it in a different way with exactly the same result, some better than others. WE ALL KNOW THE TRUTH teacher crew!!!! The parents are only bothered about the personal comment on their Jimmy!
We spend hours tinkering our words, crafting sentences that hopefully make sense, trying to re-hash the objectives into something that resembles English, using an online thesaurus to find new synonyms for ‘good’, ‘could do better’...endless EDITING.
Thank goodness we don’t have to hand write them anymore, instead we just get square eyes from looking at a screen for hours, backache from sitting in awkward positions for hours and RSI from the constant mouse clicking and typing for hours. Hand in to SLT...yet MORE EDITING to do! If you’re unlucky there may be a few more edits to do thereafter, heaven forbid you may be asked to re-write some because you’ve been ‘too nice’ or ‘too harsh’.
It’s a waiting game, wham, back in your in-tray ready to print out, yes!!! Sign away, obviously must do it in the right coloured pen or that ten acre strip of trees that’s just been ripped up from endless paper wastage has just turned into eleven. Shove those in envelopes and Bobs your uncle, handing those bad boys over to those poor kidlets, quivering at what is in those brown envelopes. Mouthing and smiling, ‘don’t worry, I’ve been honest about you’.
It’s either going to be one or another: freezing cold and raining or an absolute flipping scorcher.
Half the kidlets don’t remember what team they’re in as they rarely use their ‘team’ colour throughout the year and are expected to get into ‘team spirit’ with other kidlets they’ve never spoken to. Face it, it’s one of those days now where there’s not a lot of sport that goes on. Long gone are the exciting days of ‘the races’ where you’d compete against your counterparts and the thrill of getting over that line before them was just amazing, adding a beautiful sparkly badge to proudly show-off to all and sundry was the icing on the cake!
Now we pot everything, it’s that, ‘give it a go’ and you don’t know how well you’ve done but you’ve done so well kinda thing. Along with either drowning from the rain or wilting with heat exhaustion, oh and you can’t go to the loo and leave your kidlets unattended kind of a day.
If you survive and don’t get shouted at by competitive parents, or indeed SLT for not sending them around the potted sports ‘the right way, didn’t you read the MEMO properly????!’ You’ll be lucky to sit down with a Pimms by 5pm and think, well, there’s always next year?
You’re just about holding it together, you must get that MOJO back for the transition day. The day when you need to be the September teacher, not the hideous crow you’ve turned into in the last term.
Get that smile back and spend hours dreaming up some wonderful transition lesson (or few days as some schools now seem to do?!) to capture the magic that your classroom is so obviously going to be come September. Trawling through twitter for ideas or Pinterest for that impressive activity that’s going to make them want to be on your class, not fear the teacher from the year above. You can do it! Pull it out the bag, getting all their names right...get in! Only to forget them all come September anyway.
The staff are literally at their wits end. The biscuits no longer appear in the cookie jar. The coffee ran out weeks ago. NO ONE is emptying the dishwasher as I ALWAYS do it.
There’s a stand off in the resource cupboard - no one is having that last roll of colourful border, it’s all mine mwahahaha...*hides it under desk amongst the numerous costumes, books, shoes and missing lid glue sticks.
Oh and then there’s the kidlets- they’re shattered. How many times have you heard it? ‘I don’t know what’s got into them?! I had them just where I wanted them and now they’ve turned into monsters?!!’ Have you ever noticed it’s just after you’ve finished those reports?!!
They are human too, they see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve just got to all get there at the same time in the safest way possible...good luck!