SIKESTON -- Students aren't the only ones counting down the days to their holiday vacations -- their teachers are also anticipating the upcoming two-week break.
"It is it good to have that down time and we can all come back refreshed," noted Kelly Elementary third grade teacher Shannon Chanley about the break. "And the students are more eager to start back in January, and even the teachers kind of get in a rut."
With most area schools dismissing early Friday for the holidays, many teachers and students have busy days ahead of them with several activities, chapter-ending tests and even finals planned for elementary and secondary students.
Of course students are looking forward to the break -- and everyone has kind of earned a vacation, said Marilyn Lambert, ninth grade physical science teacher for Sikeston R-6.
"A lot of kids get so excited and it's hard to keep them interested in what you're doing closer to the break," Lambert pointed out.
At Sikeston, finals are broken down and scheduled throughout the week so there are no more than two finals in a day, Lambert said.
"It's more intense for everyone because you're recalling information you've learned since the beginning of the year," Lambert said.
But one of the teachers' jobs is to motivate the students to get them to do their very best and push a little harder right at the end, she said.
"You try to review the high points of each chapter and information that you really want to check that they have learned well and remember -- not just to learn for a test -- but they actually have learned," Lambert said.
Teachers will also have their finals graded before they leave for vacation at the end of the week, Lambert noted, adding the week offers a different kind of stress for everyone.
"It is kind of a push, but we're pretty accustomed to it. And we juggle time demands to our manage goals," Lambert commented.
With finals scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday for grades 7-12 at Scott County Central, the week is also fairly hectic for both teachers and students, admitted history teacher Marty Vines.
"It's hard to keep them focused on their work," Vines said about students. "But we kind of know it's coming and the grading is the hardest part."
Also on the minds of the junior high teachers at Scott Central is the new junior high wing which is scheduled to be completed at the end of the week.
"That's another thing that might be hectic and we might be getting a call that we have to move into our rooms," Vines said.
Since finals aren't given until after Christmas break, this week is pretty much standard for teachers and students with the exception of school dismissing early Friday, said Charleston R-1 High School Assistant Principal Jim Grasdorf.
Marsha Norton, third grade teacher at Lee Hunter Elementary in Sikeston, admitted any child is excited about the break, but basically teachers try to keep this week business as usual so they can get their grades and assignments turned in on time.
"It's a nice break and a good time for everybody to go home and start new when we come back," noted Norton. Every classroom is different so some rooms are lot more hectic than others this week, pointed out Chanley. But pretty much everyone is ready for their holiday break, she said.
Chanley laughed: "Anybody that says they're not is lying."