The end of the school year is messy. It’s not all Pinterest perfect with countdowns, perfect behavior, presents galore, and tears in everyone’s eyes.
To students with trauma, it’s a deadline, a dreaded end of security. Somehow, in all the countdowns and year in review activities, some forget about the kids who act out but don’t really want the year to end.
My husband was one of those kids. He was a capable student who purposely failed classes so he could attend summer school or after school programs. He was the kid who went from house to house until both parents gave up and he was raised by an equally crazy relative who wouldn’t drive him places, but him things, or listen when school called. He’s the kid who went into the military as a getaway.
We forget about those kids.
We also forget about those teachers. The teachers who struggle with mental health, who get depressed or feel useless over the summer, who get overwhelmed with all the paperwork and end of year expectations. Those teachers aren’t the first to pack their room or leave for the summer.
They sometimes sit in their room not knowing what to do next… the class diagram? Inventory? Check out paperwork? Purge outdated materials? Sign observation forms? Make phone calls? Lock up materials? Wipe down surfaces? Clean out binders? Check over lockers? Label furniture? Roll-up posters?
It can be overwhelming to go from having a clear purpose every day to having time off where you don’t need to grade or plan or communicate… and even though the entire year builds to this point, it still feels sudden. Like you’re walking forever and then there’s nothing under you.
They make plans, lists, use their coping skills, tackle the problems at hand, try to remain calm, try to not spiral, and smile through it.
The end of the year is already so stressful but students and teachers with trauma and/or mental illnesses are having an even tougher time right now. Not to mention, those who deal with new trauma or stress outside of the normal chaos that is the end of the year.
I am one of THOSE teachers and I am not okay. (I will be okay but I’m not there yet.)
One of those teachers,
Teaching In Public