Teaching Middle School, Week 12: Dreading Spring Break?


Azaleas last year in Savannah

The week before spring break stretches on for much longer than five work days.

Or at least it feels longer!

I was just sure that Wednesday was Thursday. My body, mind, and spirit felt Thursday.

But the calendar said “Wednesday.”

And on Thursday I had several students who are usually calm and corporative be a bit surly, which is very out of character for them.

Then it hit me.

It’s the week before we are out of school for a week. If you live in a situation where there is chaos, where there’s no stability, where there might not be enough food, where you aren’t safe . . .  well, then you don’t look forward to a week out of school.

Back when I was teaching high school, a friend who taught special ed cued me in on that. He had noticed that more of his students acted out right before a break or the end of school.

For those of us whose only problems are having enough energy to get through the week (me!), a week off is a godsend. We look forward to it. And it when that week finally arrives, we hope it progresses slowly so that we can enjoy every bit of it.

But that’s not how many of my students feel – at all.

For them, school is a place where they’re safe and fed. Where there’s structure. Where they can predict what their days will be like. Even if they don’t enjoy their time at school, it’s predictable and safe.

They’re not like me.

I couldn’t wait for spring break to arrive.

I get to sleep in, to rest and relax, be well-fed (too well-fed, actually). I get to travel. I get to be with friends, to enjoy myself, to do what I like to do.

That’s not the reality for too many of my students.

Yes, I’ll still enjoy my spring break, my free time, my trip back home.

But I’ll also be aware of those for whom daily life is a big challenge.

I’m grateful for spring break.

And I’m also aware that everyone does not feel that same gratitude.

I’ll enjoy my time off  – and will also think of those who won’t.



Some of my students doing the dab. Or dabbing. (Which is correct?)



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