By Cyndi Faircloth – English/Social Studies/Art/Journalism teacher
It’s that time of year.
The kids who are close to graduation start running of out steam and find it hard to focus all day. Teachers spend more time practicing amateur psychology and trying to head off emotional meltdowns, than we do celebrating the success of various assignments.
Student smarts off in class? We have to ask ourselves if it was intended as a rude comment for the teacher (or another student) or if it was a fight-flight reaction to being afraid that he/she didn’t know the answer. And we have to do that mental processing in the second or two it takes for us to respond so that we can respond appropriately. Make a joke out of it? Suggest a time out, like getting a glass of water? Or impose a more serious consequence?
Making the wrong choice may mean the situation escalates and takes the class off-track.
One of our past lead teachers had this theory that seniors go through a mini-phase where the terrible twos reemerge. He believed that senioritis, and the resulting condition of “jerk-headedness” that sometimes comes with it, are actually part of the student’s process of saying goodbye to both parents and school. That period, where neither side is really enjoying each others’ company on a regular basis, is key to being able to let go when the student moves on after graduation.
Sorta makes sense.
And, that theory is part of what gets us through the end of the year. We work at not taking things personally when students act up. “Senioritis,” we tell ourselves when the basketball breaks the backyard light fixture at lunch.
“Senioritis,” we say when a student stares at the blank computer screen and says, “My head will explode!” when we make them work.
“Senioritis,” is the mantra when a student can’t stop talking during 4th period, dominating class discussion.
Whatever helps us sleep at night, right?
Just in case it isn’t obvious, teachers look forward to graduation as much as students do. It is the cure for “senioritis”. Both students and teachers can relax and go back to the usual merriment and general delight in each other’s company.
We’ll be really glad when “this time of year” ends on June 4th!