A Year of Morning Thanks
According to Time magazine, George W shouldn't mind his tanked ratings; after all, he's in good company. His father's ratings--end of term--were only a percentage point higher than his: 28% to 29%. Carter's had fallen to the very same level, and Harry S. Truman, a man now frequently acknowledged as an especially effective President, was a heady six points lower--a record 22%. Maybe there's reason for the wide, Texas smile.
"End-of-Term Blues" the article said, a toss-in filler on the "Dashboard" in this week's Time. What drew me to the article was the title because I feel it--"end-of-term blues."
I'm not sure why I've got it, but at least I'm old enough to recognize the syndrome: I feel like some kind of eighth-rate teacher right now, facing my last week of the semester. I remember hearing about some world-class prof somewhere, someone so good that on the last day of class, his students gave him a standing ovation. I'll be lucky to crawl out of the classroom without being dismembered.
Look, if the truth be known, many of my students don't care a whole lot anymore, and neither do I. If the truth be known, I just want it over. I'm tired of selling goods to customers who look at me as if I'm in their way. I'm tired of all kinds of things, and, Lord knows, those students are more than tired of me.
And all of that would be depressing--really depressing--if I didn't realize that it's a syndrome. Just about every semester it happens: by the end of the term, I'm always singing the blues; by the end of the term I'd always just as soon have it all over. Maybe, by end of term, we all simply know each other far too well, just as we all know (or think we do) George W too well right now. Maybe there's no better reason for terms than end-of-term.
At least I'm old enough to remember the syndrome. It's not new. I've felt it before in early May, recognized it in my students too. It happens. A couple of days ago I announced my malady to my colleagues, who, I think, were thankful that I came out of the closet. "Sometimes at the end of the term," I said, "I feel like a real piece-of-crap teacher."
That admission brightened their day. Strangely enough, they all thought it encouraging. They claimed they had it too.
And now Presidents. Makes a guy feel good, in fact. Maybe I'll even live through it.
Just one more week.
This morning, I'm not at all thankful for "End-of-Term Blues," but I am thankful to know, slouching along toward graduation, that at least I'm not alone.