Glancing up at the clock, I see that it is exactly 12 hours until my class starts in the morning. In the morning, it will be the last week of school. Finally. My mood is better just thinking about it.
At my school, the last week is rather anti-climatic. We have one full day of classes, and then the next three days are minimum days where students come in and take exams for two classes each day. I still have to show up the day after that to...do whatever until I can take my keys and check out papers to the office.
It is not a week full of field days and fun. Students may not bring backpacks to school, and they are searched at the gates each morning. No stink bombs, Sharpies, and shaving cream for the kiddos! They may bring pencil and paper. Please bring a pencil; you are taking a test today.
After the last class, we escort our students to the quad and herd them outside the gates. Yes the message is very much, "Get the hell outta here!" I mean, uhm, "Go home and enjoy your afternoon while your teachers spend the afternoon grading your exams."
It's always amused me because I hear of other schools who have a week of fun, and my school is all about academics. Plus, we take every measure to avoid shenanigans that will result in the school being trashed the last week of school.
I've often felt sad for my 8th graders. Although in the week prior, we do have an awards ceremony (not everyone is invited, though) and the fancy 8th grade dance, their final moments in middle school are almost hostile.
Last year, the administration decided to hold a short promotion exercise after school on the last day. I think such ceremonies have been frowned upon a bit because there are people who think that 8th grade is as much education as one needs; however, it's a pretty big deal to be leaving middle school and moving onto high school, so why not celebrate?
Representatives from all of our classes formed the promotion committee where students decided on songs, colors, and guest speakers from the student body and faculty. The students walk in front of the stage where their names are called along with their future high schools. I love that part. It's not the end for them; it's the beginning!
That's more like it! A celebration for the students, by the students. That leaves much more lasting memories.