Wednesday, May 26, 2010

School's Out

I didn't go into teaching to have summers off, but it's certainly a nice perk, one of the few we have in the teaching profession. Today was our last day of school, so the teaching off-season is now officially under way. Much like athletes need the off-season to heal physically, teachers need the summer to heal mentally. Well, at least I do, and I've got a lot of healing to do this summer.

This was a particularly trying school year for me. Around this time last year I agreed to participate in a federal study. In exchange for switching to an underperforming school, I was given a bonus. The point of the study is to see if teachers who have had success in raising test scores can duplicate that success in underperforming schools. I was honored to be asked, and ultimately, the money was too much to resist.

I knew going in I would have my work cut out for me, but I have to admit, the experience has been more challenging than I expected. Getting 8th graders to do their work is always a battle, one I pride myself on winning. Let's just say my winning percentage took a severe beating this year. There were many days when I felt like Don Quixote charging those windmills.

I don't want it to sound like nothing good happened this year, because I had some amazing kids, and more than a few transcendent moments. That really hit home today at promotion. Every time a kid came up to say thanks, and it happened a lot more than I expected, some of the lingering negativity fell away. Every parent who thanked me for helping their child reminded me why I put up with all the bullshit.

Now I have the summer to recharge the battery. When it's time to report back I'll be ready. Like teachers everywhere, I'll walk in those doors ready for the best year of my career. For now though, play me some Alice Cooper.


  1. JEALOUS. My last day is June 16th. SIGH. But kudos to you!

  2. do you get to go back to your regular school?? My mom retired a few years ago when they tied HER salary to her school's performance rating (she taught at an under performing school, but the science department excelled.....too bad it didn't "count.")

  3. Hey SSP, thanks for leaving a comment. I can go back to my old school if there is an opening, but I have to apply like anyone else.