If I needed any more proof that it is “that time of year” I could utilize the fact that I have not been able to force myself to sit down and reflect in writing for almost 3 weeks.
So much for my twice a week (once at the least) goal. I guess goals can be revised, rewritten and restarted!
Teaching 4 preps for the first time since my first year of teaching (this is year 6) has been one of the best parts of my day, and also one of the most stressful parts of my day! Gone are the days of making sure I have everything I need in the morning and being set for the day. Now I make sure I have everything I need until 9:15, then everything I need until 12:30 and then everything I need until 2:45. The planning, material gathering and reflection are at an all time high for this teacher, but it has been so invigorating in the process.
I assigned/taught/graded my first “real” writing assignment in 5 years and MAN did I forget what it was like to grade writing! Thank goodness for rubrics, but STILL. I definitely did not manage my time well this past weekend. ELA teachers, your dedication, self-discipline and perseverance are not going unnoticed!
My 6th graders have worked together with their learning teams to explore area concepts, teach each other about scientific investigations/experiments and discovered the similarities and differences between accuracy and precision.
My 5th graders have completed online simulations where they utilized the scientific method, learned how to choose measuring tools for the most accurate and precise measurement, created structures to test during a model earthquake inquiry and learned to model multiplication with an area model and a generic rectangle with partial products.
The level of focus and dedication the students display on a daily basis provide the added motivation for me when curling up on the couch with my golden retriever watching football or The Voice sounds so much better than planning and grading.
But it is that time of year.
It is that time of year where there doesn’t seem to be enough coffee in the world. It’s that time of year when the papers in the “to grade” pile are stacked higher than the papers in the “to complete” pile but definitely not has high as the “to pass back” pile (seriously–when do you all have time to pass things back?)! It is that time of year when we as teachers feel like we spend more hours taking to our students families than our own (especially if you have fall conferences). It is that time when we start thinking “I guess we will sleep in June” (because the weekends are NOT enough time to “catch up”).
One of my sisters is in her first year as a social worker and works for an agency that partners with the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. I have had similar conversations with her trying to prepare her for the long late fall early winter days! So while I just sent her a Starbucks gift card to help in the short term, I had to remind her in the long term what while it is “that time of year” it is also that time of year to recognize the progress students have made. It is that time of year to reflect on just how much you really have gotten done in your curriculum or meetings. It is that time of year to remember how you have developed as an individual and a professional. It is that time of year to keep doing your best for your students, but also that time of year to keep doing your best for yourself.
Don’t forget to stop and take time to nourish your own spirit. For me, this comes in the form of spending time with my family and friends, going to bed an hour earlier (even if that means I have to wake up an hour earlier to finish the left over plans), taking an extra long walk with my dog and being okay with the “to grade” pile taking an extra day to shrink.
Enjoy “THIS time of year” it only comes around once with the kiddos you have now!