Right now I am feeling the breathless work of the end of the year. There are tests to be graded, papers to be checked, work to be read, feedback to be given. And I find myself wishing, like I do every year, for a little more time. I want more time to work with my writers to see the glimmers of word play and messing about with academic language develop into steady bright spots. I want more time to see my readers think about texts and share their newly complex ideas. I want more time to see my scientists move between observing tiny details and using information to make generalizations.
Every year I take this breathless wish for more time as a negative reflection on me. I should prepare myself more for the end of the year. I should stop trying to cram as much into the last month. I should pace myself better throughout the school year. I should use my time more wisely.
But this year I thought that maybe my end-of-year breathlessness is not so negative. Would I want to end the year in peaceful contemplation? What would I do in the last two weeks if I weren’t rushing to cram it all in? In the classroom, just as when I’m on vacation, I always want “one more thing.”
And so I race against time. I juggle an end-of-year variety show, plans for a hiking expedition with students, one last science activity, one more piece of student writing. I fill every moment and still have things I want to do. And I want more time even though there is no more time. But this breathlessness helps me to get through what is, actually, a very difficult time—a time in which our little classroom civilization faces its inevitable end.
Maybe I can just squeeze in one more thing!