Well, it’s officially summer holidays, despite an anticlimactic end to the school year.
Rather than a bubbling build up to the last day of school, weeks of rotating strikes and bargaining between the ministry and union left students and teachers locked out two weeks before the end of the school year.
Sure, some kids were stoked to get an extra two weeks of summer holiday, but that excitement was diminished by the lack of wind-up to it; the students never got the present of making it through ‘til the end of the year. It felt a little like telling your child, “By the way, Christmas was yesterday. Want a present?” Sure, they’ll take the loot, but they lost the anticipation, the countdown, hanging the stocking by the chimney with care.
My second grader went into her last day of school (unbeknownst to her) listing off the to-do list — not only to day final, but to the talent show, fun day, her last sharing day and (to her credit) the project completion date for her solar system mobile.
My kindie was practicing counting backward from 13 to summer.
Instead they left school on a Thursday afternoon loaded with Sobey’s bags stuffed with their year’s worth of efforts. It was a valiant scramble by teachers to clear it all out while they had the chance, but there was no time for balloons, banners or good luck pep talks.
Even the high schoolers had a slowness in their step — usually the first to welcome freedom, they seemed a bit lost in the fog of expectations unmet.
It is a shame that the school year ended as it did. Every kid I’ve polled agrees they would have welcomed a strike in the midst of winter midterms, rather than when everything fun happens.
At the end of the day, though, kids roll with the circumstances. The politics will be resolved one way or another, and school will resume again.
In the meantime, I explained to my little guy that he was in Grade 1 now, and even though it didn’t match the bolstering speech he certainly would have gotten from his teacher, he’s ready to move on; proud as Punch to tell anyone who’s listening that he made it to the next level.