If Teacher Life Had a Soundtrack During the Month of May

May soundtrack for teachers cover image
May soundtrack for teachers cover image

They say listening to music makes the time go by faster. Well, in May, that is exactly what teachers are hoping for. So here’s a playlist for every teacher looking for a little something to make it to the end of the year.

1. Work – Rihanna

This time of year, teachers have final observations, state testing, and final exams to worry about, not to mention all the end of the year activities, field trips, and events. That’s in addition to all the usual grading, lesson planning and paperwork that normally goes on. So in the words of Rihanna, teachers this time of year really do…

“Work work work work work work”

2. I’m So Tired – The Beatles

There is no tired like “teacher near the end of the school year” tired. We are all at the end of our ropes and there’s not much left in the tank. Makes you wonder if John Lennon and Paul McCartney were teachers in a former life when they wrote lyrics like:

“I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink
I’m so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink”

3. Nowhere To Run – Martha and the Vandellas

This is most definitely the time of year when teachers are hunted down like wild animals for every… last… thing. Did you submit the paperwork for ABC? Did you remember to complete XYZ? Do you have at least 50 pieces of data on student EFG? We all feel like breaking out our best Motown vocals for this one:

“Everywhere I go, your face I see, every step I take, you take with me yeah
Nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide”

4. Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie

All of these deadlines and events stretch teachers way too thin this time of year. And this is a profession that’s already overworked as it is. When you have too many things to do, and not enough time to do them, you can just hear Freddie Mercury’s voice running through your head:


Pushing down on me, pushing down on you, no man ask for

Under Pressure!”

5. Party (Up In Here) – DMX

“Y’all gon’ make me lose my mind
Up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me go all out
Up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me act a FOOL
Up in here, up in here
Y’all gon’ make me lose my cool
Up in here, up in here”

If those lyrics don’t perfectly sum up what it’s like walking into a classroom during the last month of school, we don’t know what does. Everyone has lost their focus, there are a million things left to do and there seems to be no end in sight.

6. I Go To Extremes – Billy Joel

Amidst all of the insanity near the end of the school year, there are also some really great moments. Getting to squeeze in a fun project or two after state testing is over, or watching students graduate and move on can be very rewarding. Teachers tend to go from moments of overwhelming stress to pure joy… and back again… many times… all in the same day. This is the time of year when everyone goes to extremes.

7. Crazy – Aerosmith

Just like Aerosmith, at this time of year, all teachers feel like blurting out:

“I’m losin’ my mind, girl, cause I’m goin’ crazy
Crazy, crazy, crazy”

Maybe it’s because of all the work we have to do? Maybe it’s because our students aren’t far behind in the crazy department? Maybe a little of both?

8. Forget You – Cee Lo Green

May is the time of year when everyone starts losing their cool a little bit. Tensions are high, everyone is on edge waiting for summer to arrive. That’s when teachers tend to have a lot to say, but know they can’t say it. Just like Cee Lo Green when this song comes on the radio, you need to tone it down just a tad. But don’t worry, we all know what you really want to say!

9. I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts – Merv Griffin

Have you ever just looked at your class as they were going bonkers and thought to yourself:

“Ive got a lovely bunch of coconuts
There they are, all standing in a row
Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head”

They all seem to have gone completely nuts and as the year is winding down, you might just join them.

10. Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon

This time of year, there are a lot of feelings teachers have. Frustration, exhaustion, anger, and exasperation just to name a few. We try really hard to bottle them up during the school day, but sometimes you just have to say:

“I can’t fight this feeling anymore
I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for
It’s time to bring this ship into the shore
And throw away the oars, forever”

11. We Gotta Get Outta This Place – The Animals

As the year winds down teachers get adept at counting the number of days, hours, minutes and seconds that are left until Summer break. At times, it seems as though it’ll never get here, but one thing is clear:

“We gotta get outta this place, 

if it’s the last thing we ever do.

We gotta get outta this place, 

girl there’s a better life for me and you”

12. I’m Going Slightly Mad – Queen

Remember back at the beginning of the school year when you were organized and everything was well thought out and planned? Doesn’t that seem like decades ago? Now we’re all flying by the seat of our pants desperately trying to keep up with everything that’s happening and it makes us just a little crazy. Or to put it another way:

“I’m knitting with only one needle
Unraveling fast it’s true
I’m driving only three wheels these days
But my dear, how about you?
I’m going slightly mad”

13. Summertime – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

As the countdown begins to enter its final stages, teachers can finally start dreaming of that most joyous time in all of our lives: Summer break. Sure some of us work over the summer to pay the bills, and others plan out future lessons and projects, while others attend hours of professional development… but hey… it’s still considered a vacation right? The closer we get to it, we can start to hear that catchy refrain reminding us that soon enough it’ll be….

“Summer summer summertime
Time to sit back and unwind”

14. School’s Out – Alice Cooper

One of the dirty little secrets about teaching is that teachers look forward to breaks just as much (if not more) than the students. When that bell rings for the last time and kids say their final goodbyes for the year, that’s when the party starts. It’s been a long grind to get to this point, so crank up this Alice Cooper classic, throw your hands in the air and sing along…

“School’s out for summer 

School’s out forever

School’s blown to pieces”

Did you enjoy this teacher life soundtrack? Then you’ll love these:

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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