It is the last day of work for teachers in my school district today. In classrooms everywhere the desks and chairs are all piled up, the paperwork is all filed and our desks are cleared of any sign of all that we have done for the last ten months. I joke with my students that there are only two days in the year when you can actually see my desktop, the first day I report to work and the day before I leave for the summer.
In our “paperless” society my desk was normally buried under seven or eight piles of paper; things to be marked, things to be filed with the office, notices to pass out, notices that were handed back in, planning aids, and professional readings usually to a depth of about three inches. As well my in boxes and out boxes would be filled, sometimes to overflowing. In amongst all this there were batteries for the babies, id tags and security bracelets, bottles, diapers etc. (if you are new you should know that my class uses the Real Care Babies).
Along with the papers, my computer was on and running almost continually (except for that one horrible day when we couldn’t get any of the electronics to run and had to teach the old-fashioned way) with mark programs, attendance programs etc.
More important than all of this, of course, were the thirty some young people in the room with me who needed attention, inspiration, direction and often comfort and guidance as well. When not in class, before school, at lunch and after school teachers are engaging with students, watching for problems, and running clubs and organizations.
So, here’s to my empty desk and those of all the other teachers who are finishing their school years. May our coffee mugs grace our deck furniture and side tables, may our email all be of a personal nature, and the desktops gather dust until we begin it all again in the fall!