Last week I had a student ask me if he could play me a song on his nose.
Befuddled, I nodded. They didn’t teach me how to answer that question in college.
He proceeded to place a finger on the side of his nostril and create a rattly humming sound as he “played” me a very unique rendition of Jingle Bells. I stood there in the hallway, questioning my life, and listened. Listening turned into singing as I joined my student in the medley. There I stood in the middle of the hallway, performing a nostril duet to a Christmas song.
Tomorrow is May 1. The official start of the homestretch (according to the calendar based on my opinion and perspective).
Like most teachers, I am looking ahead to the last day of school like it’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A shining beacon of hope that calls me to keep walking as the days feel impossibly long and the list of spring commitments grows impossibly more extensive.
I have reached the point where I would rather pull my hair out than say “Bummer” one more time.
Yes, Timmy, it is a bummer that you tied your shoelaces together and now you can’t walk.
I probably say “bummer” as many times as I hear my own name in one day (70,000).
I’ve reached the point where I have heard about so many lost teeth that when they tell me they lost a tooth, I tell them “I hope you find it” and laugh hysterically at my own joke.
It’s the time of the year that I’m questioning everything:
Can I do this? No, like seriously; is this actually possible?
Will I make it until June 14? Will those around me make it until June 14 having to deal with me?
Am I actually losing my mind or does it just appear that way in every facet possible?
I am so tired. Everything in me wants to auto-pilot the next 30 school days, getting through them with caffeine and a prayer. And while I will use both of those things in excessive amounts over the next month or so, I really want to fight the urge to mentally check out.
As summer break draws near and even as the curriculum winds down, those kids still deserve the best version of me. I think it’s possible to still look forward to summer yet live mindfully over the next 6 weeks.
In many classrooms in my district, we have been focusing on mindfulness with our students. With so many distractions, being present in the current moment is now something that really has to be taught, especially to some of our children who struggle behaviorally.
If I am going to practice mindfulness over the next few weeks, I am able to still be excited for summer, however I can’t be living there.
I can look forward to the pool time without inflating the floats and sleeping on them nightly.
The kids in front of us in May need us as much as they did in September. It may feel like we have nothing left to give: no ounce of creative energy, no ability to write another learning objective, no patience to respond kindly when a student still hasn’t learned an appropriate time to ask to use the restroom.
But the month of May is where the inner-super-hero comes out. Somehow we do it, year after year. We make it until the last day of school, sometimes with sanity hanging by a thread, but we do it.
We are going to make it. We are. The goal I am putting in front of myself is to not wish away each day, because the days go fast. The year has been like a movie roll: month after month changing the calendar in the front of the room wondering, “How did we get here?”
I don’t want to wish away the years of my life, looking only forward to the next chapter (no matter how needed or well-deserved it is).
Even the day that feels the longest flies by and the years whiz past right along with them; I don’t want to wish them away.
The weeks that are left, as exhausting as they will be, still have little moments that are going to feed my soul. They will have giggles and “aha” moments and new discovery. They will have dry markers, broken pencils, squirrelly behavior and probably some tears on my end and the students. But we are going to make it because that’s what we do.
Finish strong, stay in the moment and caffeinate regularly. Recommended dosage is 4 cups a day. Superheroes need their fuel.