The last day of school is, quite simply, the best day of the year.
There's nothing else to call the last few days of school besides what it is: an honest-to-goodness, over-the-top shit show. And mostly, we are happy to wallow in it.
There's a rule of thumb that new teachers are supposed to follow. Simply put: Stay away from the teachers' lunchroom.
. . . I'm glad that, at least for those last few years, I let myself cheer, and jump up and down, and pose for pictures, and wear silly tee shirts, and that I wasn't pretending. Somehow, we had made it to this point, all of us: students and colleagues alike. A little shouting was in order.
How had it happened, I wondered? How had an acceptance become part of the fabric of our school culture? There are lots of answers. But I like to think that teaching students to be strong, and brave, and accepting of others is a real start.
There will be no eighth grade dance this year, of course, like so many other rituals and reminders of students' experiences. And that's too bad. But that was part of what I taught them too, in and around all of those lessons in reading and writing and speaking and listening: that life is far from perfect. They may not want to hear it right now, of course. And that's okay too.
This is the time of the year for counting down.
Lining up. Counting off. Running around. Back to center. Singing loudly on e bus. Getting lost and getting found.
Yet I am sure of this: Sometime in the future, there will be games played again, and crowds there to see them. Sometime in the future, schools will be filled with students who - for a while, at least - will remember what it was like to be in lockdown with their families and will be happy to be there. I can believe in anything. After all, I'm a Mets fan.
As we all know, teaching isn't just about academics. In fact, academics are the least of it sometimes. Our job is to raise good human beings - or, at the very least, to try. And as I think back over my years in teaching, I'm feeling pretty good about that.