This next week is my last week of high school. If you’re wondering what the last week of high school is like, here’s a description of the rural high school where I teach in Bastrop, Louisiana.
We had 7th period final exam last Friday. I had one excemption due to high scores on the GEE test we take here. All the others took it, and amazingly all passed it. Monday, we have 1st and 2nd period exams; Tuesday, 3rd and 4th; Wednesday, 5th and 6th. That’s the first half of the day. After the kids leave at lunch, we work in our rooms, grade exams, and average grades. Thursday and Friday are work days for teachers with meetings and taking care of our check-0ut list, many of those tasks are moving rocks. These make the myth of Sisyphus very relevant to teachers. School is starting earlier (again). We have to show up on the 8th of August. That leaves a 10 week summer. Three of those weeks I’ll be in workshops: An AP course so I can teach gifted AP, and two gifted symposiums. I am scheduled to teach two night classes at the community college here, and I hope for another at ULM where I did adjunct work for 11 years before I was a Katrina victim due to budget cuts. I’ll be tired, but teachers are usually tired anyway, and it’s better to be tired with a little money, than tired without it. Like the Bible says in Ecclesiastes, “Money answers all things.” (It really does say that).
The remaining weeks I intend to write every day, travel some, take care of the chores and family matters that have been neglected through the school year. Seven weeks of free time sounds like a lot, but since, like most teachers in Louisiana, I’m a nine-month employee, there’s not a lot of money to do much. However, I like having the extra time to do a push on my writing. I intend to finish my Western this summer. I’m about thirty thousand words into it now. I also need to do some more short stories, more poems, enter some writing contests, and organize my writing area. I have a few thousand books, and I need to organize the piles and shelves. I also need to throw away a mountain of paper. I know I should have been more disciplined and gone through them as I went along, but it seems I was always in a time bind. I intend to do better next year.