Follow @EllenGrabe Grabe's Gatherings: The Final Countdown

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Final Countdown

The end is coming.  You can see it through the exhaustion, squirms, and the bearish mannerisms from others.  Like the stages of sleep, grief, or labor; there are stages of the countdown.  The final countdown to what?  To SUMMER!  I came up with 4 stages teachers experience as they approach the final countdown. 

Stage 1:  Motivation
This stage occurs following spring break.  After a week off to rest, enjoy family, and catch up on work there is an aura of energy as you walk through the halls.  Smiles greet you as pass by with a bounce in your step.  Warmer temperatures greet you at recess and suddenly you are confident that you can make it to the end.  You want to plan the rest of the year out and fit in extra lessons.  You can do it all for your students! 

Stage 2:  Discouragement
 This stage comes on in the 1st-2nd week of April.  You get a new student, behaviors escalate, you have six meetings in a week, and late nights equal rushed mornings.  You wear your fatigue on your sleeve and others ask you if everything is okay, in which you want to scream, run, and hide like your students do when they are overwhelmed.  At this stage you wonder how you will ever make it to June 2nd, yet you keep going with an end goal in mind.

Stage 3:  Despondency
At this stage you are beyond discouraged.  You are ready to quit.  You have nightmares and scream out in your sleep.  Your confidence plummets and you question whether you are cut out for this job and start to look for other options.  The end is near, yet it is foggy and you can't see through the fog.  You are drowning in your tears.  You still want to give your students your best but your best is inferior to what you can do.  

Stage 4:  Resurgence
Resurgence comes on around the last two weeks of school.  Field trips, assemblies, and extra recess make the days fly by.  You feel the same energy you felt when you were a senior in high school and you tore down those large paper countdown numbers in the hallway after school each day.  You made it.  With a twinkle in your eye you enjoy the final days of hugs and smiles from your students.  As you send them out the door your heart plays a game of tug-o-war between you shouting out, "School's out for summer!" or cry as you watch them walk away.  

Last week I hit stage 3.  Between IEP meetings my emotions got the best of me and tears filled in my eyes.  My confidence going into my next meeting was comparable to that of a first year teacher doing their first IEP meeting.  While I did the best I could preparing for the meeting, it's wasn't my all because I didn't have time to give it my all.  Just like every teacher mid-April, too much was put on my plate.  Something had to spill over, and in this case it was my tears.  

I am trying my best to enjoy the last 6 weeks of school.  It is a stressful time so when you see a teacher who looks like they are struggling, give them a smile and let them know they are appreciated!  We only work for 9.5 months, but we work hard for 9.5 months.  

25 days to go!!!

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