Today was our last day of school before Christmas Break. It's a little strange teaching where I do now, because we don't have the same end-of-the-semester finality that we had in the traditional school. If our students finish their course(s) early, they go ahead and take their cumulative exams (which has generated so many wrong pronunciations that we should have kept track of them). If they finish EVERYTHING early, they don't have to come anymore. If they DON'T finish but are close, they just finish up when we get back from Christmas. But we threaten them with dismissal if they don't earn enough credits, so several today were begging to be allowed to work over Christmas Break. Go ahead, kiddies, but don't expect to find ME on there.
Students never cease to amaze me with the energy they will expend (at great risk) to avoid doing their work. This week we discovered (sadly, almost by accident) that two students were logging in as each other. One was doing the other's biology work, and in exchange he was doing his Spanish (his parents are native speakers, and Spanish is spoken in the home). We decided to catch them at it, and sure enough, the next morning, one kid was logged in and working BEFORE HE EVEN ARRIVED AT SCHOOL!!!! When he ambled in to my classroom, I pulled his screen up on mine and watched as he logged in with another student's name. Took a snapshot of it on the computer and submitted that with the discipline referral.
Neither of those young men will be back with us next semester. They didn't earn enough credits to retain their seats, particularly after credit for those two courses was denied for academic dishonesty. And the REST of their courses are in question as far as I'm concerned. One of them, when he was informed that he would not be coming back to us next semester but could return to his traditional school, stormed out, saying WE had f***ed up his life. (He won't be able to graduate this year without those credits.) Then he went back to the classroom and destroyed a keyboard. Oddly enough, his twin brother IS coming back next semester.
We don't have the rush to grade final exams and submit grades before we leave for Christmas Break. Even though we are on the block semester system, we only submit grades at the end of the school year. Kids don't fail if they don't finish, and they don't start over the next semester. Of course if they have courses left over from the previous semester, they run the risk of not earning enough credits over the whole year to retain their seats for the next year.
I guess what I'm saying is that today was too CALM to be the last day before Christmas Break. I didn't have to clean out my refrigerator or unplug the microwave, since the b****rds won't let us have those in our classrooms anymore. The kids weren't wild, because MOST of the ones who were there were feeling the pinch and working like crazy. We had a couple who stayed until 2:00 and 3:00, even though students were technically dismissed at noon. (Not one girl, though, who said she couldn't take her cumulative exam because her mom needed her to do something at home. How about THOSE priorities?)
Our little team went to a local restaurant for drinks/snacks after school. Except for the staff member who said he had to leave early today and missed all the afternoon interviews of prospective students. His malady? He was sleepy. Oh, and the boss didn't come to our gathering. Again. At least this time she didn't CLAIM she wasn't invited.
Thankfully, even if it didn't FEEL like Christmas Break, it really is. Two blessed weeks away from school.
As of today, 269 school days to retirement. Unless they give us some more furlough days, in which case it's less than that.