Last Day

There’s nothing incredibly insightful in the following narrative. Just a what’s what of the last day of school.

At 10:30 this morning, the final bell rang, and students fled my classroom and subsequently the school, sparing no glances back. I couldn’t help but picture that final bell scene in Linklater’s Dazed and Confused: students en masse escaping the confines of academia in a hail of papers, accompanied by a soundtrack of Alice Cooper. I was halfway tempted to cue up the song on youtube and blast it through my SMARTBOARD speakers (because how rock and roll is that shit, right?), but opted not to for fear I’d hit an ad first, and the poetic nature of the moment would be lost. Besides, would these kids even have heard of Alice Cooper, let alone be familiar with his catalog?*

After the students cleared the hallways, leaving a veritable ghost town complete with discarded school supplies tumbleweed,  I had about thirty minutes to continue the process of shutting down my classroom. Essentially, this entails chucking a mound of unclaimed student work in the recycling. This was both cathartic and sad, though not for any gushy sentimental reasons, but because of the amount paper ultimately tossed at the end of the year. It all goes into recycling, but how much actually gets reused. I think we are getting closer to a paperless classroom, but it might be a few years off yet.

11:00. The district in its entirety filed into the auditorium for end of year recognitions. Traditionally, this was something handled at each individual school site. Staff (teacher, support, and admin) are recognized for their years of service. However, this year things changed. The superintendent read the names of folks who’ve worked for the district for one, five, ten, fifteen, etc. years, as well as anyone retiring. Each multiple of five brought with it a different piece of paper or apparel as a prize. Building principals were on hand to distribute the wares to their respective staff. I completed my fifth year in the district and received a t-shirt bearing the district’s logo (takes care of my Friday Blue & Gold Day wardrobe selection….and who the hell doesn’t like a free t-shirt?). It’s crazy to think that it’s already been five years since I started my teaching assignment with this school. Feels like we just moved to Minnesota in the not-too-distant past.

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Our superintendent said he wanted us to finish the year the same way we started: together. Made sense. In having everyone together, we could see all the time, effort, and energy that goes into a school year. He mentioned that those choosing the teaching profession opt in to something larger than themselves. The filled auditorium was a visual representation.

After the district get-together, I completed my end of the year checkout with my principal; essentially, this meant he and I went through a to do list ranging from submitting final grades to checking which keys I still have in my possession. Took a quick look at the schedule for next school year. As of right now, I will be teaching solely Sophomore English (two sections of EXCEL, and four sections of regular). While this represents a change for me, I’m okay with it. Having one prep each day jives well with my current enrollment in grad school.

Once in the clear, I took a quick jaunt to the local Subway, Judge all you want, but this cheap sandwich shop filled the bill. Cold Cut Combo (CCC). Remember Happy Gilmore. That guy loved Cold Cut Combos. They helped him grow strong. Okay, look, I know Subway is fast food masking as an healthier alternative, but I only eat it like three times a year, usually for parent teacher conferences.

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With my belly full of cheap deli meats and an equally cheap assortment of veggies (I always get all the vegetables except for tomatoes…I’m iffy on tomatoes as it is, and Subway’s tomatoes are trash…that’s right Subway, I’m calling you out on your tomatoes), I closed down the rest of my classroom and called it a day.

Summer begins. Well, almost. I will attend graduation tomorrow, but then, summer officially begins. I’m looking forward to spending time with Audrey and the girls, reading as many books as possible, attending the Nickolas Butler residency at Cirenaica, road tripping out to California, and completing my fourth semester with Augsburg University’s Creative Writing MFA program. It will be grand.

One more thing: my goal is to try and hit 1,000 words a day in the novel I’m working on. I think I can do it.

So long, and huzzah!

 

*For the record, I am not familiar with his catalog; I know “School’s Out” and “Eighteen” (because of Freaks and Geeks) and that Frankenstein song from Wayne’s World (“Does this guy know how to party or what?”)

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