End-of-Grade Downtime

last day of schoolIt’s the end of my family’s first school year in North Carolina. My oldest son starts his EOG (End-of-Grade) testing tomorrow. He has yet to show any signs of stress about it like he did when he took his first MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) tests back in Massachusetts. In fact, when we left Massachusetts to move to the Tar Heel State, he was visibly relieved when I told him that MCAS tests would no longer be a part of his life. It was as if I had handed him his high school diploma right then and there and that, for all intents and purposes, the next eight years of schooling didn’t mean much. Tonight, of course, could be different. Who knows what kind of anxiety will hit him when he gets into bed and thinks about the day to come.

Next week? Well, he thinks he’ll be watching a lot of movies. Going out for extra recess quite a bit. Laughing it up a lot more. And homework? He don’t need no stinkin’ homework.

Back in a land before time when I was still teaching, we teachers made sure not to let on when grades closed. Sure, things got a little easier around Mr. Savelle’s classroom, but there was still work to do and I introduced a few new subjects. As for my colleague, previously referred to as Mrs. G., she kept the ruse going right until the last day with homework assignments, new subjects, and projects.

How about you? What does the end of the school year look like for your students? Are they working hard until the very end? Or are late May and early June superfluous? Has the year really been so hard that it’s going to take three weeks to decompress to the point where teachers and administrators feel it is safe for students to reenter civil society?

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