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School’s Out—Sort Of

School’s Out—Sort Of

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

’No more pencils no more books, No more teacher’s …’

It’s July and I’m hearing the Alice Cooper song “School’s Out for Summer! “ in my head.

I’ve finished up my work in the schools for the year. Tenth graders took their MCAS tests and seniors took the Accuplacer tests in English and math. Their scores were sent to colleges for placement in courses. Testing was pretty much all I did in May and June. It was frustrating trying to work with the seniors who had mentally already left school despite their physical presence in the building. Every time I thought I was done, there was another teacher asking if I could come one more day to test students who were absent or did not do well the first time and needed scores sent to colleges. I always say yes because I wish my seniors well in their next endeavors, college, work, or the military.

I enjoy being in the schools, working with teachers and students, but come May I begin to look forward to summer. Now that it’s here, I don’t miss getting up at 5 AM to leave the house by 6 to get to school at 7. One school has such a small parking lot that I have to get there by 7:15 to get a space even if I don’t need to be there until later. The time is not wasted. Getting in early, I can check in with teachers and then settle in the library to get some work done before going into classrooms. Even in July I still wake up at 5 out of habit, but then smile, roll over and go back to sleep.

School may be out for teachers and students, but I do not have summers off. For me, summers are a time to review all the work I did from September to June. There are reports to write and data to be analyzed. How many students were there in each school? How many did math and how many English? How many met the cut scores for college placement into credit-bearing courses and how much was saved in remedial tuition and fees? How much time did students spend studying in our online programs? These data points and many others have to be gathered, entered into the report templates and analyzed.

As a math teacher I love working with numbers, but I sometimes balk at doing the reports. There is so much data, and getting the numbers right is a painstaking process. Sometimes I look at the screen so long that all the cells run together and I can’t find the errors. At that point, I know I need to walk away for a bit and go for a swim or a bike ride to clear my mind. Then when I come back to the report, the errors jump off the page. When everything comes out right, I want to jump for joy!

Along with the data tables, I write an explanatory narrative in which I reflect on what went well during the year and what could be improved next year. When all the reports are drafted, reviewed, edited and finalized, I can turn my attention to preparing for the next school year.

We have team meetings during the summer when I get to spend time with my colleagues. During the school year we don’t see much of each other because we’re all traveling from school to school around the state. It is nice to come together at team meetings and compare notes about work and catch up on our personal lives.

Lest it seem I do nothing but work all summer, I will take some time off to spend with friends and family, visit friends on the Cape, and prepare for a new addition to the family in August. I will also take time to swim, take long bike rides, visit the beach, and catch up on my reading.

September will be here before I know it and I’ll be back in school with administrators and teachers going over the reports I’m finishing now and making plans for the new school year.

Yes, school’s out for summer, but my school work is a year-round job.

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