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Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Madness: The Days that Make You Better

What began as a good day went downhill fast. The overall reason for the downfall was a general sense of blah, malaise, and tired of school attitude across the grade. This happens now and then at school and when it happens it's a clear signal for change.

March and April are a long months filled with lots of skill work as we approach upcoming tests and evaluations. The pressure is on to introduce all the standards, help students reach mastery with as many as possible, and meet all systemwide expectations. I find myself pulled in two directions in light of this. On one hand without a good list of expectations and standards to meet, you could slow down too much and not give students a solid foundation. Yet, on the other hand, too many standards and expectations can weary both teachers and students. As is often true, it's the balance that matters.

So in reaction to the fact that students displayed a number of disconcerting behaviors today, the team switched the plans and had a "kindness afternoon" of softer, gentler efforts focused on kindness-related efforts and quiet reading, writing, and drawing. That decision led to happy chatter for about an hour and then we ended with a final fifteen minutes focused on the classic film, The Secret Garden.

We all love good days--good days with families and good days at school, but inevitably a day arrives when the challenges are many and the satisfaction is less. That's when we know it's important to return home, get the rest you need, and come back the next day with a better plan and hopefully better results too. Onward.

p.s. If you're a new teacher and reading this, know that even teachers who've been in the field for a long time experience days like this from time to time.