Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Madness

It's known, in my circles, as June's Madness*.  It's different than March and December Madness in that this seasonal event is part of the lives of only those attending, working, or loving someone who works in a school!  While there are lots of people suffering from June Madness this week, it still does not get the respect of the big, financially powerful seasons that impact corporate America!  *It is important to note that in parts of the US where school ends around Memorial Day, this season is more accurately known as May Madness!
This season is marked with loud and often obnoxious sneers, jeers, jibs and even some jabs from those who are a wee bit jealous of the pending season of "vacation."  No kidding aside, July and August (*or June and July) are great perks of teaching; however, they are not really "vacations" in the corporate sense of the word. EVERY teacher I know will be doing something!  They will be taking courses, learning about Ipads, writing curricula, sifting through the Common Core, reading professional books, thinking about next year, and working in summer camps, washing windows, opening businesses, and attempting to organize their outside of school lives. Long before school begins at the end of the summer, they will have planned, prepared, set up and organized for a new book in the series of their professional lives. 
In school hallways after the children have left for the day, you can hear the hallmark stressed voices of those trying to grade papers, determine Student Learning Objectives, organize piles, complete folders, and pack rooms for summer camp deployment.  Those same people are attempting to maintain learning, complete mandated work, finish end of the year assessments and keep their people calm in schools without air conditioning and this rainy year, without outside recess. Those same voices are also interviewing teachers, thanking everyone who helped make their lives smooth, celebrating summer birthdays, and maintaining their own lives filled with graduations, birthdays, and the normal events of living.  They are expected to organize, attend, and smile at moving up, graduation, and writing celebrations as well as end-of-the year picnics, parties and "events" that mark the endings of the chapter of their professional lives.   
The last, and often overlooked sign of the season is the sense of excitement often earmarked as energy still mixed with and tempered by abject sadness and concern on faces and in the hearts of all those who are closing a chapter and moving on to something new.  Some are the faces of those whose year has been a good one filled with new, wonderful memories.  Some of those faces of the teachers who will be going on to write new chapters of their own stories in other schools.  Many of those faces are the students who even if they say they can't wait for summer, will miss the wonderful world-away-from-home where they have lived for nearly 200 days. Even the best and most exciting of transitions (graduations from pre-K, elementary and even HS) are always filled with conflicting emotions. 
I guess all this can be analogous to the reading (or writing?) of a great chapter book or perhaps even a series of great books.  Each and every part fills our souls and minds for the moments we are in it while bits and pieces stay with us even after we put the book down.  Yet, when it is really a great one, we feel a great sense of sadness that the experience is over even if we simultaneously can't wait to pick up and begin the next chapter.  
So, for the few of you who stumble on this writing that are not personally connected to June's seasonal affective disorder in any way, just know that these are the days of June Madness. 

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