“Welcome to April,” I joked with one of my colleagues the other day. “Welcome to the show.” We laughed together and carried on with our day.

But … 

If I’m really being honest here? May is worse than April. Something in the air – probably the beautiful sunshine and green, green grass – gets kids all kinds of riled up. There is also the fact that standardized state testing (for the most part) is over by May. Kids are relieved, but even more so – teachers are relieved. 

That feeling of relief, combined with the toxic smell of spring flowing through the now open classroom windows all combine to create a Perfect May Storm. 

And the teachers? 

The teachers have become “those” parents in July. The ones gleefully shopping for school supplies and excitedly counting down the days until school starts. The teachers have become gatekeepers at the zoo. Your children are like hyenas at the door and we’re the only things stopping them from some kind of Breakfast Club inspired rebellion. 

There is a reason May rhymes with cray-cray. 

You see your kid’s teacher at Target on a Friday night stocking up on copious amounts of wine? You see your kid’s teacher at the local bar having a drink dinner? You need to walk away slowly. However, if social niceties propel you near the obviously run-ragged third-grade zookeeper – this is what you don’t say: 

1) You look tired. Dude. We know. Turns out, we can’t afford the Magic Rodan and Fields eye cream because we’re too busy hoarding every. single. thing. in the Target Dollar Spot because Instagram has made us feel like our classrooms have to be magazine worthy. 

2) I mean, how hard could it be? Hard. But, by all means, the world needs teachers – so c’mon. Just don’t tell me my job is easy because I got 85 kids that are old enough to drive, but can’t remember to bring a pencil to class. And don’t even get me started on the teenage pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, or the exhausting pep necessary to propel kids past benchmark exams. You wanna teach? C’mon. Just know that the content isn’t the difficult part. 

3) Maybe you should ease up on the kids? Maybe try to not be so strict? Yea. And then maybe they’ll light the school on fire when my back is turned … right AFTER they steal my dry erase markers. Listen. Is there some kind of black market for dry erase markers? Because those go missing from my room like socks in my dryer.

4) Can you please make class more interesting? You mean my Instagram classroom and cute graphic tee aren’t enough? Alternate answers to this question include the following: No. Or my personal favorite: You should’ve asked me this back in October.

5) It’s alright. Summer is coming and you can kick up your feet, right?  LOL. 

Maybe instead of asking any questions or providing any kind of commentary, perhaps you should just buy the girl a drink. 

Trust me. 

She needs it.

Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca Cooper-Thumann is an English teacher in a sleepy town in the midwest. She has published four novels and is currently working on a fifth. She has a precocious four-year-old son, she loves nachos and Jesus, and she tries to live her life every day rooted in courage and joy.