If I were pregnant, the title might mean something entirely different, but thankfully I am not pregnant and I am referring to the big push that happens twice every year. It is called "finals" time.
The "finals" themselves are not the problem, the problem is all the loose ends that have as of yet gone untied or un-severed and must be either tied or severed by the end of the next three weeks. And, the process of tying and severing as it goes (even when it goes "well") just plain sucks. It the worst part of teaching as many teachers know and agree.
What happens is: all the students realize 3 weeks out that they are screwed, and they all want you to do something about it. It is rough being the one to explain that they dropped the ball, that they did it to themselves and now they have to live with it. Not a fun conversation.
True, I am a softy. But, that is because I believe that I need a break every once in a while and therefore my students probably need a break too. I draw a hard line where it "matters." but I am basic just too darn empathetic. And, even if I don't give them leeway, I still find myself continually barraged with email or unsuspected visitors to my office hours who are desperate for an ear if nothing else.
I was a good student. Truth be told, I was an excellent student. I only ever got one B+. Ever. That is how determined to succeed I was. It has less to do with smarts and more to do with conviction. I wanted it, I wanted the information, I wanted to learn I wanted to grow and change and explore and write. So, the A was a natural result (most of the time). So, when it comes time to give out my grades. It hurts me to give out B's in a tap I or a modern I class, but I have to get over that. Not everyone tries as hard as I do, and frankly not every one gets the required results from their effort. Not everyone is "natural" at math and not everyone is "natural" at dance.
What am I doing here? You don't really care about this, or if you do (because you are a teacher) you already know exactly what I am talking about, and therefore I am preaching to the choir. The reality is, that I am writing this for my own benefit. As I write this blog, I am trying to convince myself to let go. To ride the last wave of the semester like a relaxed surfer instead of a nervous and rigid grandma.
I have a lot to do. And tonight, I calendared out the rest of the semester. Probably not the best thing to do right before trying to go to bed. Now, I am all riled up. Anxious to get the work done that has to get done whether there is time for it or not.
I tell myself: "Everything I do now, I don't have to do later." And, this motto helps. But, at 11:30 pm when it is time to sleep, I shouldn't be considering going online to grade. I just shouldn't. Those papers will have to wait another day.
But those days are running out.
Oh, the sound of the ocean.