Friday, May 20, 2011

Dramatic Endings

Getting to the end of the school year always feels like coming to the end of a marathon.

Now, I suppose that's not really a fair comparison, seeing as I have never actually run a marathon, but for the sake of this metaphor, I'll stick with it.

We had a wonderful school year.  This year's group of 8th graders was fantastic.  Sometimes it seems that kids just aren't willing to work with you as a teacher. 

What?!  You ask in disbelief.  Teenagers who don't want to cooperate with adults?  Unheard of!

But, it does - on occasion - happen. 

And as a teacher, my job gets really difficult if kids simply don't want to go where I'm leading them.  The whole teacher/student relationship is based on an illusion of power (which - shhhhhh! - I don't actually have), and if they dig their heels in and refuse to go with me... well, there's not much I can do about it. 

Last year's group was like that.  I don't know for sure why.  They just didn't seem to have much buy-in.

This year's group was a totally different story.  Not only did they buy-in, but they went above and beyond what I hoped for. 

So we'll suffice it to say that it was a relatively easy year, as these things go.

Until the second-to-last day, which should have been fun.

We took the 8th graders to Elitches, as we always do.  The forecast was projecting rain (which it did), but we went anyway. 

Fast-forward to the end of the day.  After riding a grand total of 2 rides, and getting rained out of an additional two, we discovered that a tornado had touched down just a few miles from the school.  The school had been on tornado watch and a lock down for half of the day. 

Soaking wet, we waited with 200 8th graders in the atrium at Elitches for an hour and a half for our buses to arrive; they'd been delayed because of the weather. 

The kids were pretty tough and amazingly well-behaved, all things considered.  But it was a sad way to end a really spectacular year.  I would have loved to give that groups of kids a better send off!

Talk about going out with a bang...

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