March is the worst month of the school calendar. It goes on forever, there are no federal holidays, and it’s still winter. Basketball season is probably over unless your team is going to the state tournament.
March is a good time for the school musical because it’s in between sports seasons. If the musical goes well, it could be the one bright spot in a long, dreary month. If it doesn’t, it’s just one more thing for people to complain about.
Teachers who were optimistic about working with kids in the fall are wondering whether some of them have made any progress at all. Referrals for psychological testing rise dramatically. School psychologists are overwhelmed from now until the end of the year. Elementary teachers begin lobbying for retention. You’re only a couple months away from state testing season, and some are already looking for reasons or excuses.
Budget season is in full swing, and things aren’t looking good. School aid will be cut, and reducing or eliminating equipment and supplies from your budget isn’t going to cover the loss. In the end, it will be about program and personnel.
Everybody’s tired of winter. The teachers are weary, the kids are squirrelly, the bus drivers are crabby. You stare at your clothes in the morning and can’t remember if you wore that suit yesterday. It seems like you’ve worn it a thousand times since school began on that warm sunny day last fall eons ago. You should go to the gym after work, but the thought of finding a place to park and walking through the slush is too discouraging.
Even if you never smoked, you’re thinking of going out for a pack of cigarettes and never coming back. And then … a kid stops you in the hall and tells you, guess what, he’s passing English. You drop into a classroom and see a brilliant lesson with kids engaged and excited. A parent calls and thanks you for interceding on behalf of her child. The musical turns out to be well cast, lighthearted and funny. You suddenly notice that it’s still light outside when you leave the building at the end of the day. The snow is actually receding from the edges of the parking lot. The air smells good.
We’ll make it through this bleak month. It’s almost April. After spring break it’s a race to the finish line. There’s a rightness to this dreary lull.