The Struggle is Real: An Accurate Teacher Countdown to Summer Break


Now that we’re starting to (finally) wind down our respective school years, teachers know it won’t be an easy road to Summer Break. There are many trials and tribulations we must survive, a gauntlet of paperwork and a slew of last-minute events. So without further ado, here’s the Final Countdown of the 10 things a teacher must get through in order to make it to the end of the year.

10 end-of-year assessments

Once students and teachers make it through state testing season, they’re not out of the woods yet. There are final exams, end-of-course assessments, and benchmark tests that give us one final look at what students have learned this year. Of course, what teachers really learn is that all of these exams means we have a ton of grading to do in the midst of all the usual end-of-the-year craziness.

9 performances, assemblies and events

Yes, this is the time of year when every band, chorus, drama club, and dance troupe schedule their big final performance of the year. Plus, there’s the faculty vs. student (fill in sport here) game, field day, and a bevy of other events for which your attendance is “strongly requested” (wink wink).

8 students begging for last minute extra credit

There’s nothing quite as amusing as a student who has done no work all year, try to make up for it all in the last 3 days of school by begging for extra credit. Why would I give you EXTRA work if you haven’t done the work I assigned in the first place? For some kids, a little extra credit can give them the small boost they need. For others, this is when they learn you can’t round up a 25 to an “A”.

7 time-consuming class projects

When the testing is over and you’ve finished the textbook… what do you do? For most of us, this is when teachers break out every science experiment, class project, and fun activity they’ve been holding on to all year. It’s a tense time for teachers. You want to give your class something fun to do, but at this point in the year, they’ve all gone completely bonkers. What you end up with is what we like to refer to as “organized chaos”.

6 fellow teachers contemplating retirement

This is the time when many teachers start looking ahead to next year. Some are looking to switch schools or grade levels. Some are looking to improve on the lessons from the previous year. Others are making escape plans. You take one look at the kids that could be coming into your class next year and suddenly a life spent as a fishmonger in Siberia sounds very appealing.

5 stressful field trips

As nerve-wracking as it can be to control your students in the classroom, it’s 100 times worse to imagine trying to wrangle them on a field trip. The mere thought of letting your class loose on an unsuspecting public can give a teacher hives. The good news is you get to leave school for a day. The bad news is you’re essentially releasing a pack of wild animals free and it’s your job to control them. 

4 last-minute observations

Your classroom is in disarray, the students have worked your last nerve and you’ve developed an eye-twitch that isn’t going away. It’s the perfect time for administration to show up unannounced and start completing all those observations they haven’t gotten around to. You’ll see more administrators in your room these last few weeks than you have the entire year, and all you can do is beg your class to somehow pull themselves together long enough to make you look competent.

3 messy classroom celebrations

Eventually, you’ll run out of experiments and activities, all the tests will be done and graded, and there will be no more assemblies and events to schedule around. So what do you do? You throw a party! Possibly multiple parties! As many parties as it takes to make it to the last day of school. Fire up that Netflix account and make sure the projector works!

2 parents wondering what they can do help their child pass

You’ve sent home report cards and interims. You’ve sent emails, left messages and done everything short of begging parents to come in for a conference because their child is in danger of failing. Then on the last week of school they show up asking what can be done to help them pass. That’s when you break the news that sadly, short of building a time machine there isn’t anything left that can be done.

1 very exhausted, but happy, teacher

That’s it! You made it! You fought through a year’s worth of insanity and have arrived at the end of the year. Celebrate, break open a bottle of the beverage of your choice, and run screaming into the parking lot as fast as is humanly possible. You’ve earned this!


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David Rode

Veteran Legend

I'm currently a Middle School Math Teacher which means I'm also a glutton for punishment. Honestly though, I am keenly aware that Middle School is basically the worst 3 years in the life of a child, so it's my mission to make it suck less. I'm also a musician, a community theater, Dad to two amazing children, and I don't get a lot of sleep.

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