Yesterday was Records/Planning day. The day before the last day of school was always intended to be when you did report cards, readied cum folders, shredded IEPs and put up the bulletin boards so they would be ready for the first day in the Fall.
Things have changed over the years. Now grades have to be entered into the computer nearly a week before the end of school. Computer technology has made things “slower,” which is somehow consistent with the nature of school bureaucracy.
The men in my building (Three teachers plus custodians.) grill bratwurst for everybody on Records/Planning day. 120 Bratwurst.
The central office administrators show up for a few brats too. We show a video we’ve made that makes everyone cry or laugh on cue. This year we showed old staff photos going back to 1973. Lots of bad haircuts and big glasses on us veteran teachers, which had the younger teachers giggling.
This morning I made my stop at the news stand in Edison Park to pick up my last hard copy of the NY Times. As I posted earlier, I bought a Kindle, planning to read my Times on it and giving up on the hard copy. As I pulled up, the news stand guy (I don’t know his name even though I’ve bought the Times there for years) handed me the paper and said, “Last day? Hey. For Christ’s sake, don’t retire.”
“Not yet,” I said.
I smiled since I was surprised he knew I was a teacher. Of course, I only pick up the paper on school days. Not on Spring break. Not on Winter break. It wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure it out. But it felt good and I decided I would keep buying the paper there when I go back in the Fall, even at two buck as shot. I’ll cancel my NY Times Kindle sub at the end of break.
Over coffee this morning all the regulars stopped by my table to wish me a good summer. The cops. The guy who works the racing form. A bunch of teachers from other schools. A few parents.
“Bet you’re kickin’ up your heels,” one parent said to me. “Well, you’ve earned it.”
“Thanks,” I said, feeling oddly embarrassed.
The kids come in for half an hour to pick up their report cards. At 9:30 the first through 4th graders line the hallways and the fifth graders march out to some music that is not quite identifiable because of the distortion of being played over the school inter-com. It just comes out as some weird noise.
The staff hangs around the doors as some of the younger kids are met by parents who hang around talking to each other about local gossip. Some of the kids seem hesitant to leave. I am surprised by which kids this group often includes.
I put the last touches on cleaning up the room, putting stuff away, never quite finishing the job. It never seems to matter. You are suppose to be officially checked out before you go. In 26 years I’ve never officially checked out. For Christ’s sake. I’m coming back in the Fall.