Inducing Anxiety

You could probably wield even your most rudimentary Psychology 101 skills to write a 400-page case study of me when I tell you that the last six weeks of the school year filled me with dread and anxiety. A Teacher’s Plan Book stuffed full of notes, remarks, reminders, failures, and successes took center stage on my desk. It gently prodded me, “Hey, Mr. S., don’t forget about all the cool things we were going to do this year!”

Cool things. Yes, like the poetry lessons under the old umbrella oak, right?

“Hey, Mr. S., don’t forget that the students need to reach correct point levels in Accelerated Reader.”

Ah, yes, thanks, Plan Book. Independent reading goals, I must not forget them.

“Hey, Mr. S., don’t forget you have to sit down with the other teachers and make class assignment recommendations for the next school year.”

Right. Thanks, Plan Book.

“Hey, Mr. S., now would be a good time to figure out how to better manage your students’ writing folders.”

Plan Book, take a hike, will ya?

“Okay, Mr. S., but one last thing. You need to be at the year-end ceremonies by 6:30, in suit and tie. The forecast is calling for a humid night, highs near 90. The gym isn’t air-conditioned, so stay cool.”

Plan Book, I am burning you in the patio fire pit this summer, so enjoy your final days.

Well, that’s how I remember it, anyway. Like the beginning of the school year, the final weeks were generally a blur of smiles, activities, wrap-up, and testing. Not to mention grading, report card writing, meetings, parties, and continual prodding of students who were thinking about everything but school work.

After a year or two, it was easier to slip into a routine and plot the final weeks. What suggestions do you have for the best way to handle the rush at the end of the academic year? And if you teach year-round, what is it like as you ready yourself for a new class?

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