And despite a high rate of absenteeism, those who did show up today were well-mannered. It was a day of socializing, signing yearbooks, taking photos of friends. I recognized many faces but remembered no names, as usual, as I chatted for the last time this school year with a group of 7th graders.
It was a half day for the students, each class no more than 25 minutes long. That's barely time to get a class calmed down at the end of the school year! There were a few rough housers, and two boys in fifth period were borderline agressive toward each other. One accidentally pushed the other boy over a chair, the boy slipped and hurt his back. The boy who slipped just happened to be a child with special needs for his violent outbreaks, and although he was clearly not hurt, he wanted to use the slip as an excuse to get violent with the first boy. That didn't go too well with me because it was obvious the hurt boy was doing it for dramatics, and an entire classroom witnessed it. Luckily separating the two was all I needed to do, and I contined to talk calmly to the offended child.
At 12:13pm the school intercom played Alice Cooper's "School's out!" which was code for "good-bye till this August!" and the entire campus filled with screaming and running middle-school students looking for their school bus or private parent-chauffeur to oick them up. There surely were relieved teachers as well, who now have the rest of the week to finalize grades and clean out their classrooms.
The campus cleared out fast, too, and by the time I got to my truck, there was little evidence that there were students on campus today. There was no formal good-byes, just the usual "thank-you!" and I drove home.
Will I be back next year? I hope so. I've gained much confidence as a teacher, I have overcome the social stigma here of being an "overpaid teacher" (hardly!) and simply enjoy mentoring the students that want and need it. There will be changes for me this fall, that I know, and I have the summer now to prepare.