The Dog Days
"There's nothing new under the sun." Isn't that what Ecclesiastes said? It definitely seems partly true the longer I stay in the classroom. Without a doubt every kid has a very distinct personality, back story and skill set. But the overall ebb and flow of a classroom through the course of a year seems to follow a universal pattern.
June, is one of the most challenging periods in this cycle. On the other hand you can see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, the tunnel is 86 degrees with no AC and packed with fidgety eight-year-olds. The Stanford Prison and Milgram experiments taught us a fair amount about the ugly side of human nature, a sweltering third grade classroom in June has plenty of lessons to offer as well.
It's that time of year when students finally overcome their incredibly short-term sense of time and realize that yes, in less than four weeks, they will in fact be free from the classroom. Add to this testing fatigue and the heat and the students are less than attentive and less than respectful to one another. I would like to wrap up the year by helping the kids reflect on their progress, the community we've built and the goals they have for the future, but the kids seem generally tired of it all.
Of course, Ecclesiastes is also known for writing, "For everything there's a season." June will always be a natural part of the school year, and for all of its challenges it's also filled with rewards. This is the time when I get to take a final measure of my kid's progress and my work as a teacher. Throw in a field trip and a publishing party here or there and overall June's not so bad after all.