The end of the year is so close I can almost taste it — or maybe that’s because I’ve been hovering around the Food Technology kitchens recently and sampling shortbread made by kids I can safely assume have washed their hands.
Even though the end is nigh there are still a significant number of hurdles to be leapt over before heading out the door with a pile of books that are going to be seen to over January.
Firstly, I can barely fit my laptop on my desk at the moment. I have piles and piles of student work, minutes from meetings that could have been emails, a few coffee mugs and a mysterious assortment of hair-straighteners and clothing left behind after the production that finished last week.
It’s become so bad that I have started to take over colleagues’ desks when they are out of the office rather than attend to the situation on my own desk. I’m not going to deny that I have seriously considered poaching a couple of organised kids to sort it out for me but I think that’s taking “choose your own end-of-year activity” a bit too far.
Secondly, I must hand back a huge amount of student work. For some reason, I can never remember to take this to the relevant classes when I have them or, in the case of the never-ending pile of Year 7 posters (I said they could do Power Point but they all made posters), they are just too cumbersome to transport in one trip.
This has led to me ambushing classes when they have other teachers and dispatching work. I check with the other teacher beforehand to see if this is okay and every single one has said I am welcome to take as long as I need to hand them out — in fact, can I please make it take as long as possible as they have finished the coursework and don’t have much planned. As I back out of the door, my mission complete, at least one colleague has mouthed the words, “Don’t go” before turning back to the class.
Thirdly, I must head to the shops to buy a Kris Kringle gift for Matt in IT. This is a new thing for staff at our school and is the topic of many conversations buzzing in corridors and offices. Kris Kringle identities have leaked out as people seek ideas about what they can buy within the $20 budget that would appeal to their chosen person. Matt loves computers and fishing so I am hoping to combine these two interests into a gift. Maybe a fish-shaped USB?
Finally, I like to write a card for each student in my form group to remind them of what they have achieved for the year. I look forward to this the most and I hope that they mean as much to the kids as their cards mean to me.
Christina Adams is a member of the Australian Education Union (Victoria) and a stand-up comedian.