Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Leg

The end of the year in 6th grade is such a tumult of tasks and emotions, and it all seems to be happening so quickly. There are projects to grade and a novel to finish (though this morning, preparing to read Homecoming in class, I remembered that there was a whole paragraph where the main character and her brother discuss the fact that the women in the town weren’t wearing bras…the words “jiggle jiggle” were involved…I wisely had them read that chapter independently, instead of aloud to them as I usually do.) There are Activity Days and Craft Day and Game Day…all of which I can tolerate. But there are two events that make me want to hurl myself right off of this windy hill and onto the Route 3 traffic: Field Day, and Boston Field Trip Day.

Field Day when I worked in the Elementary Schools was bad enough. It was loud, it was hectic, but all I had to do was follow my class from station to station, writing down which team - red, blue, yellow, or orange - came in first through fourth. They’d have spoon races and sack races and water balloon tosses and that sort of thing. I’d get ridiculously sunburned every year and go home and sleep off my migraine. Then in the middle school, we would have to actually write down scores and thing for each individual kid, tromping around the way back fields of two school campuses. Then came one magical year where the gym teachers all said, “You know what? We got this. We’ll keep them for the morning, manage the transitions. You meet us at the caf at 12:15 and walk them to lunch.” Oh, the glorious morning that was! But…they never did it again. Not only did they not do THAT kind of field day, but they never did any kind of field day again. So now we 6th grade teachers have to each lead an activity for our own made-up Field Day, and the classes rotate from teacher to teacher. Yeah…can you see me trying to lead the kickball game? Not so much. My solution? Karaoke. I borrow a karaoke machine, have the kids bring in their CD’s, put up an umbrella, and my station is Karaoke. Yes, it’s painful to listen to 6th graders sing Party in the USA 34 times, but it’s better than a freaking egg toss.

I still have my field trip to the Museum of Science to survive, and it’s not the museum that’s the problem. It’s the bus ride. A bus to Boston during rush hour with 50 6th graders in June. 'Nuf said, I think.

I know…you could tell me that I’m lucky to have a summer “off” (which, of course, I have never actually had) or that at least I’m done at 3:00 or whatever you might want to argue. Sometimes, I would agree with you that I’m very lucky to have a job with so many perqs. Sometimes. If you say that to me in June, however, I would like to punch you really hard in the mouth. I would like to invite you to join my class for Craft Rotation Day where I try to keep the boys from stabbing each other with friendship pins. Come give that a try. I would love for you to sit across the table where the mother says, “You have done nothing for my child all year. This has been a waste,” and I am unable to respond with what I'm thinking, which is, “Lady, your son is an asshole, and it’s totally your own fault.”

BUT…for now, it’s the long weekend, and I have trim to paint in the hall and curtains to sew (Aw…who am I kidding? Curtains to no-sew iron into some semblance of hang-able). There’s a BBQ with many of my favorite people on the whole entire planet and a pedicure tomorrow and festive beverages to drink and sunshine to shine it all up with a sparkly coating of happy.

And there’s only 11 school days left. I can do anything for 11 days.


  1. Aww, I miss Field Trip Day! :)

  2. Oh that wondrous year when the gym teachers took the kids...wasn't it nirvana?! I too loathe field day - too much sun and not enough order. I'm sure for the kids the time flies by, but for me it's a laborious TICK TOCK. And since the math gods have a wonderful sense of humor and made me a MATH teacher, I get to be in charge of calculating the percentages between homerooms. Which means 100 different kids are constantly coming up to me asking who is winning (I could care less!!) But believe me I'm selling it- my homeroom's color is white and I call us the White Lightnin' and fake it all day long:)

    And as for the end of the year parental litanies, I get to decide who moves on to the honors track to take high school algebra next year, and who doesn't-imagine the parental observations of my teaching when their kid isn't moving on...there's me trying to make them understand that staying in pre-algebra will ultimately HELP them in the long run with higher SAT/MCAS scores. I pour my heart out and tell them the story of my fabulously successful daughter who will try anything academically as long as there is NO MATH involved and how this can cause a myriad of unseen problems later I insisted she stay in honors math when she begged me to get out of I regret that stupid parental mistake (she's my first and I wasn't teaching yet-how could I know!!). After 6 years of teaching and giving this speech about 60 times,(with Rachel's permission, of course) about 95% of the time the parents override my decision and have their kid's math class changed anyway. Oh well, I tried to warn them. I just say a prayer to the math gods that this little lamb of a mathematician will hold on for one more year to fight off the dreaded plague of math phobia until they are ultimately (again) taken out of the honors track at the end of 8th grade-and that this time the parentals take the professional advice of their child's teacher. Ahh, hope springs eternal.

    Happiest of Memorial Days Miss Kelly Browne! I'm glad to know ye.