#39: On the End of the School Year


On the End of the School Year

It’s always a cluster,
unnatural and awkward
in every way,
but mostly for teachers,
or maybe just for
teachers like yourself,
English teachers with too many students,
too much grading,
not enough time to get it done,
or, at least, to do it well,
speeding through, losing sleep,
desperate to get every last thing
into an impossibly shorter school year,
making unsound but necessary omissions,
trying to calm or placate
stressed out students
in constant states of anxiety
about the things that matter least,
always plagued with the sense
you suspect is more than a sense
but actual fact
that you’re not doing it right–
perhaps for the twenty-fourth time,
you’re not doing it right

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

5 thoughts on “#39: On the End of the School Year

  1. I had this same conversation with myself just a bit ago. Your prose is much nicer than mine….since I cannot seem to string together a coherent sentence at all at the moment. I struggle each year with wanting six more weeks with them and being ready to open the door up and let them leave a day early. Hope you have a restful summer Michael!

    1. Thank you, Aine. Every year, it’s a totally mixed bag, and what’s most frustrating, is that it doesn’t seem to get a whole heck of a lot easier! Shouldn’t we have figured this out by now?! Anyway, you have a restful summer also, and thanks so much for reading.

  2. It’d be so much easier if the kids could just focus until the end! lol My English 12s, in particular, are way more excited about graduation than about the coursework that will ensure they make it TO graduation! I was caught up on my marking today for about 12 minutes. The avalanche of late work is about to begin…

  3. Year 22 for me and I’m right there with ya.

    For me, the end of the year is rarely accompanied with much anticipation or even a sense of winding down. After the last day of work, I go home and have a hard time believing that another year’s over. It takes a few days to shake that omnipresent feeling of always being behind. I’m just as busy on the last day of the year as I am every other day. The only difference is that before I go home on that last day, I recycle that pile of documents on the corner of my desk — the pile that’s been growing since August — the memos, flyers, articles, lessons, letters, and other paperwork I thought I’d have time to get to at some point in the school year. 🙂

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