Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Final Countdown

This week is the last week of yet another school year. The countdown is officially on. With seniors last day being last Friday, only underclassmen remain, 99% of whom, in my classes, are juniors. OF these remaining juniors, 99% of them are exempt from final exams, so they won't be in class when finals start tomorrow. What this all amounts to is filling 90-minute class periods with whatever we teachers think will help us pass the time. Essentially, it's watching the clock for four days until the final school bell rings at noon on Friday.

You think that with this being my 10th go-'round, I'd be better at handling these down days of little to no productivity, but sitting around doing nothing is something I'm not skilled at, which is why I eschew it (you know what they say about idle hands and the Devil's workshop!) One way I might pass the time, rather than watch "The Joy of Mathematics" with my students . . . again, and by "Joy of Mathematics," I mean "Men In Black", "Hoodwinked", "Freaks and Geeks" and any other movie without math in it, is to clean my room, purge my old files, and get my room "summer ready." Unfortunately, I spent all LAST week doing that. In fact, I have filled four boxes full of recyclable tests, quizzes, handouts, and old student projects. Everything in my classroom that has any value to me at all already has a label of "Korpi--Room 903" on it so that I can track it down at the beginning of next year after the janitors "deep clean" my room. I've even assessed the situation above my ceiling tiles and have mapped out a plan to mount my data projector from the ceiling during the summer, a project I can't start until movie days are officially over, lest the students get asbestos from the ceiling tiles in their popcorn.

Needless to say, today (and this week) is going to be excruciatingly long . . . and it's only a four-day work week, unless of course you count teachers' required attendance this Saturday at the end-of-the-year Hallelujah rally, an event that will prevent me from participating in a charity golf tournament for my little friend Hunter and from attending a family member's high school graduation. That compulsory event puts it back at a full 5-day work, errrr, COME to work week. I'm going to use the burdensome monotony today as training for what will be the interminable holy day of obligation this Saturday. I'll use my time to practice my genuflecting technique.

Seriously, though, there is a considerable task left for me to do. With so many students exempt from finals, I must be very careful on the day of the actual final that those NOT in attendance are actually exempt. It is my responsibility to make sure that I post and "excused" entry into the electronic grade book ONLY for those who are listed on the official exemption list released just this morning. Several desperate, forgetful, or lazy students who fall into that 1% of my kids, have been know to try to "qualify" for an exemption simply by being absent for the final exam. This means I must cross check my rosters with the official list, a tedious, boring task that is difficult to find the motivation to do.

If I've learned anything this year from the teacher inservices I've attended, it's that the use of a highlighting pen and colorful Post-it notes make ANY task more enjoyable. Now if I can only decide whether to highlight those exempt or only those who are not exempt. OR . . . . maybe I just organize my internet "favorites/bookmarks." The list IS getting inconveniently long.

Yes, today will be a day of prolonging the mundane in an attempt to hasten the clock, because, as the adage goes, the watch-pot never boils.


Anonymous said...

Highlight your exempt kids. Your roster will have more color.

Anonymous said...

To break the monotony, maybe you could venture out of your classroom during your conference period - go visit Kilford or Wenzel... At least you'd have a change of scenery.

kwkorpi said...

Venture out of my classroom?! I'm not THAT bored. Besides, they always come to visit ME.

The change of scenery idea was good, though. I have lots of great photos from Natl. Geographic on my hard drive. I can put them on a screensaver slideshow.

Brenda said...

I started summer school today. Hope this last week flies by for you.