Tag Archives: school year

The end of another school year

When I walked out the door of that large, inner-city high school eight years ago, with no misgivings, no qualms, just joy to be done with a long career in education, I had NO intentions of going back to any school building. God sat back, chuckled, and said, “We’ll see about that.”

MY plans were to be done with the classroom. I didn’t want to be retired, just refitted for another career, but not one in education. I could see myself working for a nonprofit, doing marketing work like events and social media. Contacting potential donors and working with current supporters. Those were areas where I wanted to put my talents to work. Once more, God chuckled.

On Thursday I again walked out of a school, this time an inner city elementary school, finishing four years of work as the school chaplain, but with every intention of returning to that school in September. Eight years ago I didn’t even know there was such a thing as school chaplain. I certainly didn’t plan to ever work with elementary students. My plans were for the big city with big people.

Those small children have won my heart. They need me and what I bring to their school each week. A story, a hug, a smile, a sticker, a reassurance that they are special. It’s small stuff, but I believe it’s making a big difference. There are now 34 school chaplains, spread out over the city. We all have these amazing stories of small children, and even some of the adults, finding meaning in what we do each week. As I’ve often said for myself, and I believe the other chaplains would agree, we put on the uniform and show up and let God do the heavy lifting.

Next school year, my fifth as chaplain, the first class of first graders I saw will be fifth graders. I would very much like to reconnect in some way with those kids. Although they occasionally see me on the school grounds and say hi and give me a hug or ask for a sticker, I would like to do more for them. Remind them of some of those lessons learned long ago in first grade, and reinforce the resiliency they will need as they head to middle school.


Yes, the calendar says it’s spring, but no break yet

Many of my blogging friends and dear Readers are off on spring break THIS week. Oh, my. Another four weeks for the schools in this part of the country. We still take Easter (shhh) break around here. And since Easter is really late this year, so is the break. Time, though, will fly after everyone returns to school for the last seven weeks. School will be out June 9, and many of my teaching buddies are counting the days already.

As for spring in the San Joaquin Valley–it’s having a hard time making itself known. Huge storm came through over the weekend. All the roads into Yosemite are closed due to snow, flooding, downed trees, downed powerlines. You name it, it’s blocking the roads. And it’s unseasonably cold. That’s why the snow level is so low. So, this is really not a good week for Easter spring break.

Summer vacation

When I started teaching, 20 years ago, I got 12 weeks vacation that first summer.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  While working in industry, I was thrilled to have made it to the 4 week vacation mark, so 12 weeks was wonderful.

The next year we got 11 weeks, then for a few years we got 10 weeks.  The past two years we got 9 weeks.  This year, 8.  Ok, so it’s still more than that 4 weeks I got when I worked out there in the real world, but I don’t see that we are getting any more bang for the more time we spend in school.

When I started teaching we got an hour for lunch, or 55 minutes, and it was plenty of time to get lunch, go to the restroom, hold club meetings, work with students, hold detention, kibbitz with other teachers.  Now we get 35 minutes, and that is bell to bell.  And we wonder why clubs have trouble getting anything done.  When are they supposed to meet?  Oh, and we start school at 7:50 and run until 3:30.  Students nor teachers have time to just breath and think.

I am thankful for these 8 weeks away from school (although I have been back twice now to work on computers and projects) and we get three weeks at Christmas, just about the time I’m ready to go under.

My husband reminds me that when I go back into the private sector that I will not be getting all those days off, and I know he’s right.  But, I don’t seem to remember being so harried and overwhelmed when I worked in industry.  My weekends were my own; I wasn’t planning and grading the work I had just done the previous week.  I also remember being able to sit at my desk and think about the work I was doing.  I don’t have that luxury any more.  It seems as though the district office is afraid to give us a minute to think on our own.