Something in the air. The way the sun isn't fully coming out.
The end of the school year is close, but it's not tomorrow. Or next week. Or the week after that. Or the next day.
It's like approaching the 11 mile-marker in a half marathon. Where your brain can't think about anything but your sad knees and how dying wouldn't be that bad, but still you know you're going to make it, so you have to keep going.
And when you have the least bit left, you need to somehow muster up more strength than usual.
This is always an unsuspecting and tricky part of the year for me. I never see it coming, and it always kicks my butt.
But it seems like it shouldn't.
I'm on the other side of the year's most monstrous work periods.
Never coasting, but my head is above water.
My students are still curious and caring.
My colleagues are like family.
The literature is a constant source of light.
I think I'm just tired.
And I think most people around me are, too.
The students. The staff. The families.
We're all at mile 11.
It's the spot the ones who love you most will choose to line the sidewalks as spectators. It's where the biggest cheer section is needed. With witty posters and vuvuzelas.
In May you might see your best student put her head down.
Or look at the time more than twice.
Or stare longingly out the window.
A colleague you adore might give a short response. Or not respond.
Or drop the ball on the thing.
A new task might fall onto your plate. Even if it's something you're genuinely into, you might just stare at it resentfully for a second like, "Hi. What gives."
Mile 11 is where everyone hits a collective wall.
The best thing to do is to look around. To see everyone else in the same space.
In the classroom, it's up to me to triple the energy output when students are falling into the meh. To remain excited about the learning. To bring my A game when it feels like a C minus day, for them or for me.
To expect them to meet me halfway, and to make it worthwhile when they do.
To continue to care, and to show it more intentionally than usual.
Be the cheer section. Generate the energy.
I started to use a full marathon as the metaphor, but didn't have the brain capacity to even imagine that many miles right now.
Painting by Martin Wehmer