As Educators, Shouldn’t We Be Counting Down to the First Day of School?

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No matter where you go, schools have a lot in common.

Each one has bulletin boards covered with faded construction paper, a colored pencil or crayon laying in the hallway, copiers that are jammed, horseplay in the restrooms, and at least one staff member who can tell you the exact days, hours, minutes and seconds until the end of the school year.

Generally, they start the official countdown right after Christmas.

This holds true, unless the staff member is having a bad year. Then they start at Halloween.

Really bad year, Labor Day.

The best part is that you never have to ask them about the countdown. They tell you as they walk by in the hallway.

I can remember doing this. My system was slightly more low-key. Let the Countdown Begin!

I checked off the days on a school calendar that was taped inside my grade book.

Do teachers still have grade books? And if so, why? But, I digress. Again.

Checking off the days gave me a sense of accomplishment. At the time, I thought keeping track made the year go by faster.

It was even more special when I forgot to do this for a few days. Then I got to put X’s through 3 or 4 days at once.

Weekends were an added bonus.

I felt like I had just won a prize. The more X’s the better.

But the X’s always had to be in the same color. In retrospect, I have come to realize that I might have some control issues… or a disorder.

Hard to tell. But in my youth, chewing on paint chips was probably not the best plan.

Checking off the days probably made the end of school go slower.

Now that I work (and remember everyone’s definition of work is different, so don’t judge) 12 months a year, I never worry about the end of school.

It doesn’t even cross my mind. Maybe that is because I am so focused on the job at hand.

I am locked in. Totally immersed in the job. Giving it 110%.

Or more likely my memory is getting so fuzzy that I just forget to do it (i.e.: paint chips)

Just as soon as this school year ends, it will be time to start the next one.

At this stage of my career, I am not a counter. My life is passing fast enough… kind of like the huge bowl of chip dip intended for a staff luncheon that is gone by 9:30 in the lounge. (I can’t make this stuff up.)

No need in wishing my life away.

Plus, if I really need to know how many days are left, I can just walk down the hall.

At my school, or your school. Or any school.

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10 Responses to “As Educators, Shouldn’t We Be Counting Down to the First Day of School?”


  1. Ryan
    on Apr 24th, 2009
    @ 8:48 pm

    I’m a counter and love my job. But I count down everything. When I go to the movies, I look at my watch several times. I can be totally engrossed in the movie, but I want to know when things are going to end. I don’t know why.

    Part of my counting is realizing what I have left and what I will need to do before it’s over.

    BTW… I have 52 more days.


  2. Kimberly
    on Apr 24th, 2009
    @ 8:57 pm

    My countdown doesn’t begin until the third quarter report card goes out and then it’s not a “how many days until summer vacation?” countdown but rather a . . . “oh no, I’m not ready to have this class move on yet, there’s so many cool things we could still explore” type of countdown – a I know Fred just needs a bit more time to really catch on to reading. My absolute FAVORITE time in my school career was when I taught our school’s version of multiage – then I knew that I’d be seeing half of my class again in September and we’d pick up right where we left off; those children had the gift of time. I had 360 school days with the privilege of watching them grow rather than only 180 (or really less!). In so many cases my struggling “2nds” bloomed in the October of “3rd” grade.


  3. Michelle TG
    on Apr 25th, 2009
    @ 10:40 am

    LOL! Look at this
    http://www.twitpic.com/3z2pn

    :-)

    BUT, I DO understand what you’re saying. This is purely for MY (and my students’) sanity so we can get a grip on what’s due and where we’re going for the end of the year.

    Thanks for the link to this post. Love reading your blog!
    -Mrs. T.G. :-)


  4. eduguy101
    on Apr 26th, 2009
    @ 8:21 am

    Wow, this rings true for me, more so this year than ever before.
    We are in the throws of radical change, which of course equates to gigantic stress. I have heard more times than I want, “I can’t wait for this year to end”. Even though it has been a tough year for me as well, I am excited about the future. The changes are pretty good overall, with the exception of the ongoing budgetary issues all around us. I have even seen paper chains in rooms for the more subtle counters to use.


  5. Anne Van Meter
    on Apr 30th, 2009
    @ 7:45 am

    I count down (well, not exactly – I know I have about 4-5 weeks left) but mostly so I know where I stand in terms of what we still need to do. In math class I’m ahead, so I know I can plan some relaxed, fun reviews. In science, I need to do a little squeezing but we’ll be okay.

    The biggest worry is end-of-year activities. As soon as I think we’re on schedule, someone throws in the Honors Trip, or a band assembly…


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  7. Lisa Parisi
    on May 6th, 2009
    @ 5:26 am

    I love the countdown. This time of year, I am looking forward to summer, where I can spend countless hours on PD, review and revise units so they work better next year, and connect with my family. While I also panic about how much I still want to cover with so very little time left, I find myself much less tolerant of people these days. I desperately need a vacation.


  8. Deanna
    on Jun 28th, 2009
    @ 5:01 pm

    I understand counting, I used to do it. But since the future is only a thought, and the present in the only tangible thing we have, we’d all be better if we focused on the now- immersed ourselves in it, make it as rich as it can be. The first day of break is already over for most, did it live up to the countdown?


  9. Lina of Education Jobs
    on Jul 15th, 2009
    @ 3:35 am

    If you do love your job then all the more you’d be wanting to count the days down by till the next day that you’ll be in office. And yes every educator should be counting down.


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