Several years ago I wrote the the following about the month of May:
“T.S. Eliot states in The Wasteland that “April is the cruelest month.” He is close, but he misses the mark by a month, at least in my opinion…May [is] the cruelest month…at least when it comes to my teaching life. The problem is that after a long Michigan winter, the extra summer sunlight of the north makes everything lush and leafy, seemingly overnight. This might not seem like a bad thing, but the appearance of summer is a serious problem when it comes to my students, as en masse and like clockwork they begin to checkout in uncharacteristic ways once the trees suddenly burst with leaves, despite the fact that over a month of school remains.
A lot has changed in the two years since I wrote that, but something that hasn’t changed is the cruelty of May from the standpoint of planning lessons and running a classroom. I have found this cruelty to be especially true this year, where after a school year set against a backdrop masks and variants and societal discord, my students are more ready than I’ve ever seen to reenact that scene in Dazed and Confused where they sprint through the school doors, as papers (and in this case masks too) explode into the sky and flutter like giant snowflakes to the ground.Continue reading “Why May is the Cruelest Month for Teachers (And What We Can Do About It)”