It's been a weird school day so far. It's the last Friday of the year. Monday will be our last full day of school, and Tuesday will be a half day with half of the morning taken up by an awards assembly. More students than I can count have decided it's not even worth coming to school anymore. Or, they came to school, realized hardly anyone was here, and decided to go back home. It doesn't help that the seniors have declared today "senior skip day." Oh, and I can't forget the students who are out of class to help move our high school classrooms to the middle school for next year.
I printed off a word search to keep the handful of students I have in each class period occupied. Every word in the puzzle starts with an E. Yes, I'm mean like that. Yesterday, when most of the school was gone for baseball regionals and a biology field trip, we played Sara VanDerWerf's 5x5 game. While my students have been word searching, I've been keeping busy. Cleaning out my inbox. Making a summer to-do-list. Working on my action research project that's due on Sunday.
I'm surrounded by stacks of paper, and I think I'm starting to understand how some of my students feel. I've got stacks of journal articles I printed off as potential sources for my research paper. I've got another pile of old rough drafts of my research project. I *think* I can get rid of these, but something is telling me to hold on to them until I graduate. Then, there are the stacks of pre-tests, questionnaires, permission slips, post-tests, retention-tests, and other paperwork generated by doing research. Oh, and I can't forget the sample papers and pages and pages of tips on writing from my professors.
Do you know what I want to do more than anything else?
#1 Graduate with my master's degree.
#2 Print off my final research project and bind it using the Arc System from Staples (a new obsession of mine).
#3 Admire the product of almost two years of hard work.
#4 Throw away all the piles of paper collected in the process of writing this paper.
Occasionally, I will have students who will talk about how they can't wait until the school year is over so they can throw away their interactive notebooks or set them on fire or destroy them in some other way that makes me want to fall to my knees and cry. (Not all students feel this way, of course. I have other students who take their notebooks with them to college. I have students who claim their notebook is a prized possession, and they are going to keep it in their hope chest.) I've never understood their desire to destroy their notebook. Until now.
Grad school has been an interesting journey. I wouldn't describe it as "fun." It has been a lot of hard work and long hours (and will continue to be so for the next week)! It wouldn't say it revolutionized my teaching practice. But, it did force me to look more critically at what I do in the classroom. It taught me how to design and carry out a research project. I read scholarly journal articles and published research that I probably wouldn't have ever taken a glance at before. Grad school has stretched me, and I'm thankful for that. I'm also thankful it's nearly over!