Hello there December. You are that month that is both eagerly anticipated and dreaded (mostly by teachers) at the same time. Just your name alone holds all of the anticipation and excitement of the holiday season. The sparkling lights, the Christmas carols, Continue reading
Just like the students, teachers are also often surprised at how quickly the school year seems to go by. To me it seems just like moments ago that I was starting the school year off at a brand new school, teaching a brand new set of students. Yesterday though, I got an email (as did the rest of the staff) with the schedule for 1st semester final exams. :O Final exams?!? Already?!?
Thankfully, this year Continue reading
Sometimes it seems that everything in life happens all at once…getting sick/hurt, work piling up, the calendar becomes loaded with events, meetings, appointments, etc. But after all of this ends, or we’re able to find a moment to breathe, how to we then pick up the pieces we feel like we’ve dropped and get back on track?
I’ve been struggling with this question ever since we went on Christmas Break. Once again, I let all of the traveling, weather, crazy schedules, holidays, everything…get to me. So I feel like I’ve been playing catch-up since then. I feel like this past weekend I was finally able to get everything back in place and find that groove that I need to be in to be my most productive.
The very first thing that I tackled was getting caught up on grading. As an English teacher (teaching 3 levels of English, as well as ACT Prep) I, of course, always have assignments that I’m giving – but this means that at some point those assignments come back to me to be graded. While I logically know this, in the mindset that I was in, I didn’t feel like I was properly handling them. So I had set aside this past Saturday to go to school, figuratively lock myself into my classroom and tackle the grading that needed to be done. This was actually quite difficult to do, because for some reason Mother Nature decided to let the Midwest feel the reprieve of Winter and it was a gorgeous Spring day Saturday. Nevertheless, I turned on Pandora and got to work. When I finally came up for air hours later I felt so much better about having accomplished so much.
Now that I had tackled this task, it was time to focus on the other things in my life that I had been putting off. Namely, this blog. I had reached a sort of writer’s block when it came to this blog. Over Christmas Break I had read a few more books, but I found myself strangely uninspired by these novels that I couldn’t even motivate myself to write about my lack of response to them. So, I didn’t. And then school started again and I still couldn’t find a way to get writing again. As the days went by, and we had numerous snow days, I let myself believe that I had nothing to write about. I found myself watching the days slip by and still having not written a word…and then I wondered, after so much time, how can I get started again?
I recently began reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin to use in a short unit with my Seniors (more to come on this later), and as I’ve been reading her book, she has one chapter devoted to “Work” in which her goal is to “Aim Higher.” While I am always looking for new ideas or ways to make lessons more interesting/effective with my students, her goal of starting a blog was actually the part that resonated with me. Obviously I have already done the part of starting the blog…my problem was figuring out how to get back into the blogosphere regularly. I didn’t want to set myself up for failure, so as I read this chapter, I let her experience sink in. Some of the advice Gretchen was given in regards to her blog was to write every day. This was the answer that I had been looking for!
While I may not be able to write every single day, I am resolved to blog at least 4 times a week. Even if I am stuck, I am hoping to use quotes that resonate with me to give something to reflect on as I get back into my habit of writing.
Wish me luck as I try to get “back on track” with my writing endeavor. While I’ll try to keep it on my original goal of education and books, I have the distinct feeling that some of my posts will also be including stories from the track season. Part of the journey of the track team will be the fact that I, along with my fellow coaches, are coaching not only the Junior High team this year, but we’ve also added the High School team. Wish us luck this season!
What I expected to see today….Heads down on desks, students dragging their feet from class to class, hushed rooms, students not quite awake all day because it’s their first real day back from Winter Break.
What I saw instead….Excitement, students full of energy, students falling right back into their routines for school (such as journals in my classes).
I can honestly say I was shocked. Especially since my building had finals yesterday, I was expecting my students to be walking around the school like zombies. Instead, every hour I had students in my room, awake and ready to get back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not complaining about this one tiny little bit…I’m just still trying to process the liveliness of my students today.
I will blame this phenomenon on the unusually warm weather that we have been having this week in Illinois. I also think that since we have already had a snow day, the students aren’t whining and complaining saying they should be getting out of school.
The great thing about today, was that I was able to jump right into my plans for 3rd quarter with all of my classes today. A new semester means a new start for all of my students: Seniors get to learn about and read Shakespeare, Juniors will be writing a research paper on an author, and Sophomores will be writing a research paper on a 4-year college they are interested in. Hopefully we can keep up all of this great energy and we get back to our daily grind.
I hope everyone’s day went as well as mine did today! Happy teaching all!
Let me tell you, teachers and staff working in schools enjoy their breaks as much as the students do. It gives us a chance to spend time with their families and have a mental break as well. We spend so much time planning, grading, teaching, meeting, coaching that often times our days are filled with work and we don’t get the opportunity to spend as much “down time” or QT as we would like.
While we do continue to do work over our breaks, the pace is slower and not as demanding. We are able to take the time to drink our coffee slowly and enjoy working from our couches with the dog settled at our feet.
I have had the time to enjoy watching the snow fall instead of worrying about driving home in it. While I have still had games and practices over break, the atmosphere for me is better because that is all I need to focus on that day instead of combining it with the long school day. I am able to focus on improving skills at practice and making sure we are performing at our highest level.
But the one thing that I truly enjoy being able to do while on break is fulfill my inner-nerd. I am able to read books that I’ve been wanting to read for pleasure. I don’t have to analyze the text as I am reading it and can simply enjoy the words on the page. I am free to feed my book addiction and not feel as though I am neglecting my students as I become absorbed in the novel I’ve pulled off the shelf (today it’s The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer).
So I will take these last few days of break to enjoy my coffee and my books before I start thinking about new lesson plans for the semester. I hope all are enjoying their breaks, taking time to relax!