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COLUMN: Kids finally get end-of-school experience they deserve

Teachers deserve credit for toughing it out during pandemic, providing fun options for kids before summer break

To quote Alice Cooper, “School’s out for summer!”

This year, for the first time in three school years, staff and students got to finish off the school year the way they are meant to — in person.

I don’t know about you, but I recall the last few weeks of school being the most fun of the entire school year. There were outdoor fun days, field trips, movies and lots of special treats. And chaos — lots and lots of chaos. Not that the last two-and-a-half years living in a pandemic weren’t their own kind of chaos, but the end-of-school chaos was the best kind.

When my kids came home and told me they were going to get to have a carnival day, or go for a picnic with the other kids in the same grade, my heart was happy. They are finally getting to experience those things again — or, for our little one, for the first time since starting school in the fall of 2020.

My kids love school and I 100 per cent credit that to their amazing teachers (and the rest of the faculty), who have somehow managed to roll with the punches time and time again over the last couple of years to do everything in their power to give their students the most fun and engaging school experience they possibly could under some pretty crappy circumstances.

In this household, the excitement and joy felt for the lazy days of summer that lay ahead (for the kids, at least) are also mixed with some sadness, as our youngest officially moves on from kindergarten and becomes a “Grade Oner,” as she likes to say.

For the past four years, our family has had the privilege of getting to know what I believe to be the best teaching partnerships out there. They are like two sides of the same coin, or yin and yang: two halves that together complete wholeness. They are very different in personality but, when put together, just “work.”

So, to them — and to the many other teachers out there — I want to say a huge thank you. It takes a special kind of person to do what you do — something I think the parents of every school-age child learned pretty quickly when we tried to step into your shoes for online learning. I can only hope that as the years continue and the pandemic hopefully becomes a distant memory, we don’t forget about how hard these men and women worked to keep our kids safe and learning, both in person and online.

I hope that when they beg for smaller class sizes, better wages, or support for students with learning disabilities, instead of complaining, we sit back and remember how these folks managed to step up and continue to provide an education to our kids in an unprecedented and — let’s be honest — terrifying time. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck don’t have it in me for another round of online school, and I would bet to say many others don’t, either.