A teacher’s year end contains the drift and blur of one week’s movement into another, the flex and flux within a sea of ever-changing tasks – it can be a time with little demarcation of days and weeks; there’s only more and more and more of school until that one morning when you wake up to find void in all that’s made up your previous ten months vocation. You note absence of routine, absence of schedule and absence of bells. From frenetic to calm and then to taking hold of your life – the first two weeks are hardest in this transition. It’s the initial unwind and decompression from the year you’ve lead students through, a time to settle in, settle down and a time to settle upon summer plans. But, we’re not there yet. Now, teachers count number of sleeps until school is done. Now, teachers whet their appetite for summer with barbecues and games of golf. Now, few teachers are reading books of interest. Many are marking assignments and tests late into the evening. Many are thinking through how best to help students review for finals. All are working through how to balance what has been taught against what remains to be taught within the time left. Those teachers with experience have managed time well, met all curriculum outcomes and are turning their focus to helping students conclude their year well – helping them to recognize what they’ve achieved and to anchor this self-knowledge within their self-esteem.
Within a few weeks, staff will cluster at year-end dinners and barbecues; they too will be looking at all their year has held – the successes and the challenges; and they’ll work to put issues to bed and leave them behind in the year that was. Already, we’ve held an awards night, a night celebrating staff’s years of service to students as well as recognizing notable within jurisdiction school achievements. Of all the times in the school year, this time, this month of June highlights the busyness of planning and of culmination; we’re heading toward threshold. Student behaviour is at its most extreme in June, something more significant than the student behaviour we see in December’s anticipation of Christmas. Warmer weather, extended hours of sunlight and the approaching end of what’s been normal for students through ten months, all can serve to escalate things in the worst of ways for students – fighting, skipping, withdrawal from school. It’s June. It’s that critical month in teaching when it’s so important to hold fast to your goals that lead students to their year end and yours. And, it is about each student. June is the month that contains the final moments in a year of transformation for adolescents. In June, the cocoon rattles and shakes, eventually bursting upon the threshold of that moment in which a school year and grade concludes and students are set free into their summer and their next year’s endeavor. It’s a birthing process.
Photography – the images presented here are ones in which I’m investigating what can be done with macro photography. The initial set of images are those taken in and around farming equipment on display at the High Level Museum. The others come from locations in Fort Vermilion, Alberta – an old building (to be demolished), grave markers at the Anglican cemetery and dandelions outside the cemetery.
Curious Quotes – (1) “Nothing isolates one person from another person as the species of their perception.” – Boris Pasternak; (2) “Stress is a perverted relationship to time.” – John O’Donohue
Quotes to Inspire – (1) “I never question what to do, it tells me what to do. The photographs make themselves with my help.” – Ruth Bernhard (2) “It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.” – Robert Brault
Listening to – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking (Rolling Stones), California Sun (The Rivieras), Let It All Hang Out (The Hombres), Louie Louie (The Kingsmen), Pink Cadillac (Bruce Springsteen), Sultans of Swing (Dire Straits) and Back in the Saddle (Aerosmith).