Yesterday a student spoke up as I strongly encouraged him to go out to recess. Little did he realize that it had been about three hours since I had a personal break and I needed to have the recess/lunch time to complete a couple of items. Instead he would have preferred to spend the time inside playing a card game or working on the computer.
Transitions have been a persistent struggle during the past few weeks, and I've been wishy-washy about this. While I need to have a break now and then as an adult and educator; I also value students desire to stay inside to continue beloved activities such as building, rubrik's cube contests, computer games, origami, and more.
I've supported a mostly inside-outside recess choice this year as my room borders the playground and I can stand at the door and watch students in both places. Also, for my students who like to build and create, I know they look forward to that inside time for creativity and friendship. Yet rather than coming up with an effective schedule of inside/outside recess, the schedule changes daily based on multiple factors outside of the classroom.
What's a teacher to do?
Yesterday's student comment is the catalyst for change. I need to make the inside/outside recess choices clearer. I have to be more explicit about when students can choose to stay inside and when everyone has to go out. Since children are not allowed to be in the room unsupervised, I have to determine the times when I can't supervise both indoor and outdoor recess--times when students all have to be outside or inside due to supervision issues.
I'll put this on the agenda for our next student-teacher class meeting so we can reach a resolve that meets my needs for a working break now and then as well as students' need for inside time to build, create, and play.
This is often how issues arise in school. Students' persistent behavior and comments demonstrate a need, and then together teachers and students work to meet that need in ways that matter.