The last two weeks have been INSANE (as evidenced by my barely-there bloggging), but Friday at 5:00pm, I left school and started summer holidays! Yes, 5:00. Sick. Oh well, at least I left. What a crazy, crazy last week. This is somewhat of a "catching up" post. Beware. It's looong! :o)
Grade 7 Airbands: Every year, I have done a history of Rock and Roll unit with my grade 7's. We trace the roots of rock and roll all the way back to Africa and learn about it's evolution. It's great fun! At the end of the year, I have the kids get into groups, choose a song from the 50's or 60's, and put together an airband show. They perform in the gym on the stage for their peers and for the grade sixes, who I tell will be doing the same thing next year. It's always SO much fun, and the kids do a fantastic job. Everyone is clapping along, and cheering, especially for groups that aren't quite as polished as others. It's a really positive, fun morning. This year was no exception (except for two girls who weren't happy with their group so made up some story about having to go to Victoria for the day. Their teacher and I saw through that lie immediately, called them both in the evening to say that they had to come to school the next day. Well, they never showed. Even when their teacher called them in the morning and told them to get their butts to school. I couldn't believe it! I was so mad. But, I was also SO impressed with the rest of their group, cause they totally revamped their performance without the two prisses and performed anyway. I was so proud of them!). For nearly two hours, we had the gym rocking to songs like Surfin' USA, It's My Party, Magic Carpet Ride, Big Spender, and on and on. The kids were fantastic! I'm going to miss doing that unit with them next year!
Talent Show: Every year on the last day of school, we do a talent show. All the kids pile into the gym and watch sing, dance, play the piano, do marshal arts, tell jokes, do gymnastics, etc etc etc. Some kids are adorable, some kids have amazing talent, other kids... well... it's good that they want to get up and perform in front of nearly 700 people. I've always enjoyed the talent show, but without fail there are one or two acts that make me shake my head and wish these kids would just be KIDS. This year, some of the songs the kids chose to sing was disappointing. THREE groups/performers sang Unfaithful: "And I know that he knows I'm unfaithful/And it kills him inside/To know that I am happy with some other guy/I don't wanna do this anymore/I don't wanna be the reason why/Every time I walk out the door/I see him die a little more inside"
I'm sorry, but NINE year olds don't need to be singing about heartbreak and flagrant cheating. I wish artists would realize the impact they have on kids and actually write stuff that could make a positive impression. I know, I know, music isn't all for kids. I guess I just get so frustrated that kids are forced to grow up so fast, and that acts like that are approved. One of the students who sang this song was a grade four BOY. It killed me to hear all the grade six and seven kids snickering (loudly) when he got to the line "to know that I am happy with some other guy." ARG! Can we not set limits on what kids can sing/do at the talent show??? I'll just remember instead the kids like the little kindergarten boy who got up and belted out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" accapella into the mic. A song appropriate for his age, and oh so very cute!
Goodbyes: The kids finished up on Thursday of last week, and we had our staff party Thursday night, then Friday we a big breakfast prepared for us by our administrators. The year end food fest is really rather ridiculous, but oh so YUMMY! Our principal runs a cooking school in the south of France every summer, if that gives you an idea of the gourmet style food we get whenever she's involved in something! After breakfast we acknowledge all the people who will be leaving our school for transfers, retirements, maternity leaves, etc. There are gifts and speeches and general warm wishes all around. It's always sad to see people go, but this year was particularly difficult because of two teachers who are leaving out school - Mr S and Mr G.
Mr G is transferring to another school after about 10 years at my school. The school will not be the same without him. He is the most grounded, kind, helpful person. He's always willing to help out, particularly with computer woes, answer a question, or give encouragement. He's taught me a lot and I've been so grateful for the support he's given me in my music program over the last three years. It will be so strange to not have him there next year.
Mr S is retiring this year, after 37 years of teaching. It's his job that I am taking over, but that does not in any way mean I am glad to see him go. Like Mr G, he has been such an inspiration to me as I am at the beginning of my career. He has taught me so much. Plus, he is one of the most friendly people I know! He was the first teacher I met when I got to the school and he gave me a great big welcome, really made me feel a part of the school right away. He always has fabulous stories of his travels and his former students. But most of all, he has an incredible way with the kids. He may be 50 odd years older than them, but he has a gift for empathizing with them, for seeing the world through their eyes, and for cutting through all the crap they try to throw at him but still treating the kids with such respect. He instills self confidence and self esteem in every student. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say he is a role model for me and for how I want to treat my students. There was hardly a dry eye in the house when saying our goodbyes to Mr S. The school will simply not be the same without him there.
Packing up: The last order of business for this school year for me was packing up my classroom and moving upstairs. After the breakfast (and about 2 hours of yakking with the people who were still finishing things up! Hey, this is ME we're talking about here!) I got down to business in my room - boxing things up, sorting through files, making trips up and down the stairs and/or elevator and loading everything into my new classroom. It really started to sink in that, HOLY SMOKES! this is MY classroom. MY kids. MY responsibility. *GULP* I am so excited to head back in August and get organized and set up, and get planning for the start of school. After a good long holiday, of course.
Ah yes, holidays. My brain is so in holiday mode right now. After the fantastic Canada Day I had yesterday, a short hike and another swim in the ocean after church today, and a long hike and, you guessed it, another swim planned for tomorrow, I couldn't be happier! Summer school starts Tuesday, but I'm gonna enjoy every second of this hot summer long weekend while I can! YES!!!