This article was written by Ben Kissam — a middle school teacher and coach in Denver, CO. Check him out on his website.
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In teacher land, the month of March only means one thing: Spring break is near!
Sure, March is also one of the most stressful months of the whole school year, but you have 3 solid weeks of build-up to fantasize about sleeping in for a few days or relaxing on a beach for 4 days after you finally overcome 11 stressful hours in a packed airport.
Here are 5 types of teachers at the end of March. Which one are you?
1. Calculating the exact number of weeks, days and hours until that stand between the end of Spring Break and the start of summer.
March is the month when every non-math teacher shakes the cobwebs loose in their brains and dusts off their personal TI-84 calculator from college. All with one purpose in mind: To figure out exactly how much longer they have to endure before summer break.
The pre-Spring Break teacher can be found having conversations with him or herself that sound like:
“Okay, April has 30 days and May has 31. We’re out June 10. So that leaves 71 days until summer vacation…. Wait, am I sure that April has 30 days?”
“71 days, subtracting 2 days from each week to account for weekends, leaves 57 school days. 8 hours per day times 57 days… 456 more hours of this? UGH!”
“.... So this means I only have to teach my nightmare period 2 class 57 more times. You. Can. Do. This.”
2. Pretending you’re super interested in winning this year’s all-staff March Madness pick’em.
Something came alive inside of you the moment you put $10 in the pot. Instead of crafting your lesson plan to align closer to state testing standards for next week, you decide one Tuesday afternoon on prep that this will be the year you win the NCAA college hoops money pot.
Sure, you haven’t watched a lick of college basketball all season, but you did trip over one on the way in from recess duty the other day, and almost sprained your ankle. That’s a good sign, right?
Ultimately, you wind up watching 2 clips on ESPN before realizing the ads are way too long to file through all 68 teams. You pick every higher seeded team with the exception of your alma mater and some 14-seed you’ve never heard of but has that nice “sleeper pick” ring to it when you say it out loud.
3. Briefly fantasizing about all the newly listed job openings in your district.
Upon receiving an email from the district or superintendent detailing all the vacant positions for the following school year, you begin picturing the oases that might exist in other school buildings.
“...Imagine if that school has more support for my elective programs!”
“Perhaps the students at Cobbler Middle School don’t stick gum to the bottom of their desks!”
“Maybe their administrative team doesn’t make teachers do 45 minutes of team building every professional development session!”
Ah, the stories we tell ourselves. In truth, it’s the grass-is-always-greener mentality to a T. If it’s a school in the same district, it’s probably similar to where you are now.
Maybe for a hot minute jumping schools sounds like a good idea, but let’s be honest: you’re pretty comfortable with where you’re at and making a change would take a lot more effort than it seems like.
Plus, you never know- Cobbler’s teachers might be over there doing 15 more minutes of team building than your school does on PD days.
4. Using Spring Break as leverage over your students for all class assignments and behaviors.
Don’t like how period 4 has been acting recently? No problem. Just hold over their heads that you’ll be assigning a treacherous Google Classroom assignment that will be due on Monday after Spring Break if they continue misbehaving.
You know the chances of you actually taking the time to create such an assignment are nil. You also know the parent kickback on assigning projects while they are on family vacations is not worth the hassle of proving your point.
But your kids don’t.
5. (Silently) declaring the weeks leading up to spring break as “basically summer”.
The shotgun blast of pre-Spring Break coping mechanisms, at least one teacher in every school building is guilty of this approach. Whether they’ve had a bad few weeks, or the whole year has been a disaster, the last 2 weeks before Spring Break in their classroom are basically akin to the last 2 weeks of their senior year of high school.
Movies, student-led assignments, and hefty projects save this teacher from having a mental breakdown right before the finish line.