Tuesday, June 3, 2014

#10summerblogs: Why the last day of school sucks.

After asking my PLN for a summer blog challenge, @jenhoulette encouraged me to try the #10summerblogs project. Tons of people are taking part. I encourage you to give it a shot. My first summer blog: Why the last day of school sucks.

Today was our last day of school. It was great. It was emotional. It sucked.

We utilized the rare three hour early out where we had 18 minute class periods followed by a super awesome Minute to Win It challenge. Grade levels squared off in the most ridiculous challenges titled: Face the Cookie, I am the Walrus, and Rebound/Get Down.

During 'pregame,' one of our students was moved by the rockin' jams, played by me, over the sound system. He broke out into what could only be called a dance explosion in the middle of the floor. How did our 500 strong repay him? Thunderous applause.

This was followed by yearbook signing time. I remember yearbook signing time in middle school as the time where I could tell my friends how much they meant and how we would be friends forever and how these are the best times of our lives. It's different as a teacher. It turns into how fast can I write my name and "did I have you in class?"

But, what I witnessed, were kids who may not have always hung out would find each other on the gym floor, smile sheepishly at each other, exchange yearbooks, and leave with a smile. As I was writing my message to the kids, I saw homeroom teachers writing long notes to their students leaving a lasting reminder that they mattered. It was a moment where the relationships were the most important thing our school does.

The final event of the day was the send off. Imagine grown people beating on pots and pans, doing cartwheels, crashing cymbals, and chanting "move that bus" as the kids motored off in their yellow caravan. It was at that moment I realized why the last day of school sucks. The students leave.

I realized that I hadn't taught those kids as well as I would teach next years kids. I realized that it would be the broad side of two months until I could use all I had learned this year to improve how I teach next year.

And, most importantly, I realized that, for some students, they were driving away from safest place and the safest people they know.

So, for all the fun and celebration, the last day of school sucks. I cannot wait for the first day of school to arrive. Where the slate is blank and the smiles are genuine. Where we get to try again to be the best and safest place for our students. And where we get to be the place where our kiddos can be themselves and find out who they never knew they were.

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged,

Dane Barner


  1. I saw the pictures that you posted earlier - it looked like an awesome experience! Our last day was yesterday & I know that feeling - I will really miss this class of students. Thanks for reminding us that relationships are the one thing that matters most!

  2. Great post. Although I will be looping with my class next year, I understand what you're saying. I was saying goodbye to some of my former students who are moving on to the middle school and I thought I would be able to handle it. Yet, realizing I would probably never see them again I cried unashamedly. We laughed together about not keeping it together and then cried again. It really is about those special relationships you make along the way.

  3. You really captured how the last day of school is magical...and then it's over. Nice work!