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End of school year makes it the very harried month of May
Teachers, students, parents face frenzy of projects, events as school year ends with a rush
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Christy Britt, center, yearbook advisor at Johnson High School, signs the yearbooks of her former students on Friday, May 18, 2018. - photo by Asha Gill

Every day may seem hectic in the modern world, but the month of May just might be the most frantic of all.

“I think every teacher and every parent is in survival mode,” said Christy Britt, a teacher and yearbook adviser in the English Language Arts Department at Johnson High School.

May starts off chaotic since it is the height of the testing season, the kinds with lots of acronyms.

Britt has two adopted boys and fosters one girl, which makes scheduling this time of year a juggling act that includes everything from buying gifts for teachers to final testing and projects.

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Christy Britt, yearbook advisor at Johnson High School, passes out yearbooks on Friday, May 18, 2018, to members of her staff. - photo by Asha Gill
“I have parents emailing me constantly,” she said, confirming how widespread the panicky nature of May can be for students and their families.

Whitney McFalls, who teaches fourth and fifth grade at New Holland Knowledge Academy, said the challenges this time of year seem endless. 

“We are preparing for graduation, field trips and field day, while completing paperwork for middle school, analyzing test results and making reflections about the school year,” she said.

Meanwhile, McFalls also has a 2-year-old daughter at home.

“She is at an age where development of certain skills are crucial to her future success,” she said in an email. “Though it presents challenges when planning learning opportunities for people in both my personal and professional world, I am constantly rewarded by celebrating the milestones of both my students and my daughter.”

Jessica Smith, who teaches at the Martin Technology Academy of Math and Science, said balancing all the festivities and events at the end of the school year, such as pep rallies, spirit days and yearbook signings, makes for a fun and exciting time.

But it’s also a little crazy, too, a “very tiring time,” she said.

“I believe the craziness is everywhere — all schools, all over the county, I would bet,” she said. “Teachers and students cherish this crazy time together, but we also look forward to what all the next school year has in store: new opportunities to learn, new students and new experiences.”

Chantelle Grace, a social studies teacher at Chestatee High School, said it can all take a toll mentally and physically “as the to-do tasks accumulate.”

“The kids start to wear out from reviewing for these tests, as well as from the modified schedules that have to be made by schools to ensure they can test the students according to state requirements,” she said. “There are days I only see my husband for a few hours before going to sleep since I am either staying up late to catch up on grading or responding to emails that have piled up.”

But, in the end, Grace wouldn’t change a thing.

“I love my job, as do many teachers, so I deal with the challenges and persevere through knowing that summer is right around the corner,” she said.

Cindy Grier, the mathematics department chair at East Hall High School and teacher of the year in Hall County for 2017, said teachers have to have an “amazing ability to multitask and to remain calm in the midst of a myriad of storms” this time of year.

“Those are skills that most teachers acquire as they navigate the chaos of their profession,” she added. “It is inexplicable and, when considering all that we face, improbable. Yet, it happens.”

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