Warning: this post (obviously, from the title) contains a lot of swearing.
When I was a teacher, the end of every term was hilarious not really. It’s at this time, when teachers, usually a band of rock solid allies united in their front against shithead kids and anything which isn’t prescribed in their Teachers’ Union flyer, turn on each other. And they turn nasty quicker than a candida infection in a tight swimsuit come summertime. This quarterly phenomenon occurs when, exhausted from the mountains of work they have to complete during term, they now have the added pressure of reporting deadlines, planning for next term deadlines, end of term data deadlines and more. They’re also expected to front up and teach their students something of value during all of this.
It’s the Teacher Hunger Games and heaven help the poor arse who doesn’t run for a safe haven (the staff toilets or supplies cupboard).
And yes, all professions have times of intense stress and huge workloads. But throw in 100+ clients (that’s fancy for students) who are feeling the same sense of deadlines, pressure and sheer bloody exhaustion and you have yourself a Shit Storm. The end of term is so severe and the smell of holidays so strong, things like the following can induce brain snaps of the highest order in usually mild mannered teachers:
- “Good morning!” says bright and chirpy colleague. Because why? Is it good? You’ve just interrupted my marking so no, it’s not fucking good.
- Finding your bottle of instant coffee/coffee pods, the one you left ON YOUR DESK in the staffroom, is near empty when three days ago it was three-quarters full. You’ve had two cups of coffee in that time.
- A colleague asks whether they can swap classrooms for next lesson (in 10 minutes) because yours is closer to the assembly hall but only if it’s NOT raining and only if you have 28 chairs because they have 27 kids in the class but you never know ha ha so can I? “Fuck off Soz no.”
- A mandate from ‘Up Top’ states that no class shall watch videos on the last day. Find-a-words it is then, arseholes.
What I didn’t realise is that parents might feel like this too. I do and I’m not working professionally in any kind of capacity. I’m parenting. And as outlined in this here blog, I’m not always doing a particularly rock solid version of that. Parenting at the end of term is nowhere near as intense as teaching, yet there are just as many Shit Storms:
- Small children fighting during pick up over who will get to sit in the very back seat. This makes me wish my head could spin around and vomit spew out my eyes just so they would all shut the fuck up.
- The pre-made lunchbox bits like muffins or cheese triangles or bread run out three days from the end of term and to add some salt to the wound, the tuckshop ladies have had a gut full and they’re not operating for those last three days either. Cue staring into the pantry whilst quietly swearing repeatedly.
- A parent who is consistently late picking up their child from play dates wants to schedule another one. “Fuck off Soz no”
- School road rage is a thing as some arse-valve cuts you off at the drop off zone and you have to wait another three minutes before you can finally get your kids out of the bloody car.
- School shoes, held together with duct tape, prayers and pure will are whinged about every morning and every morning you explain about getting a new pair in the holidays and then the next morning that same kid whinges about their shoes and you want to shove those shoes somewhere unpleasant
- School jumpers are lost and despite the cool weather, the child is told “Find it or freeeeze!” through gritted teeth.
Sometimes, once you’re past the worst of the reporting, marking and planning, you can sit back in those last few days and watch on with amusement as the Shit Storms explode across the staffroom, safe in the knowledge that your reporting is done or that really, marking will be infinitely more pleasurable in your pyjamas at home on the holidays. But usually, there’s too much work or stress to realise it’s just the end-of-term-brain-snaps; that they’ll pass the minute the final bell of term rings and those students go home to their parents.
“Sucked in!” was what I used to think. Sucked right in: now you can have them for two weeks and see how it feels. Little did I know that quite a few parents were also counting down to that final bell. I know I am. I can’t wait to spend some time with my animals without the deadlines and the uniforms and the fights over seats. Just like when I was a teacher.
Bring on the holidays!
Are you dragging yourself over the end of term line?