The last day of school for the students (excluding I days, exams, report card pickups) was last Friday. The whole week seemed to have an electric anticipation, almost a feeling of dread, as the final day came closer and closer. Stories from staff, students and other administration about past grad crimes (love that term, puts some of the destructive side of grad pranks into perspective): smoke bombs, crickets, chickens, graffiti, broken windows. It was definitely something to look forward to…especially, as a teacher, I have not experienced the admin side of the last day of school. It was, in the past, an exciting conclusion to hard work from the students and a celebration of the successes (and some not so successful) and a little anticipation of the summer and the start of a new school year.
As admin, though, the last day of classes seemed to be one of anticipating possible grad pranks, dealing with the end of the year issues from teachers and support staff, congratulating students on completing their year, and making a huge presence in and around the school (all the while, the grad bbq, the exam space and retirement parties are being setup). I don’t think I sat down at my desk for more than 1 minute at a time, and that was to help out students with late fees and other end of year issues.
So, the anticipation of a day of putting out fires (sometimes literally, but also figuratively), I forego my usual tie and dress pants for jeans and a golf shirt. The runners that I had just purchased were all worn in appropriately so I could run after students trying to get away from perpetrating grad crimes. I readied myself for a day of non-stop action and prepared for the issues around destroying public property and harming other students….sigh.
The started out quite well. The students arrived, excited about the last day, preparing to say goodbye to some friends, getting their yearbooks to help reminisce about the past year. The grade twelves (the grade that I was expecting to be taking most of my time) began arriving in Grad 2012 t-shirts, glasses and horns, setting up their alcove (they have their ‘own’ alcove) with ribbons, baby pools (no water) and signs for Grad 2012.
I won’t go into the issues around suspended students showing up (and sometimes not leaving, starting a game of cat and mouse, which I must say, the cat wasn’t always the winner), water balloon fights, egg throwing (outside). I will instead say this: I went into the day with a little trepidation, but with the thought that our students were good. They wouldn’t destroy anything, wouldn’t hurt other students (or animals, like chickens and crickets) and wouldn’t put anyone, including staff, in danger.
And they didn’t. They celebrated with excitement, with maturity and with hope. And that is what I will most remember about my first last day of classes as admin. Our students have gone through 12+ years of education, and can still come out of it with hope for the future. I am glad that I could be a little part in their education.
Happy Grad 2012! Congratulations!