A sense of pressure always hits the classroom at this time of year. Teachers like me worry about MCAS scores since some leaders and parents put a lot of focus on these scores. There's lots of content to cover and lots of students to teach. Children sense the pressure too, and some exhibit less than ideal behavior due, in part, to the pressure and also as a result of a long winter with less vigorous outdoor play.
Some may ask why didn't you plan better so that you have already taught all the expected standards? That's easy to say, but the reality is that if you want to teach a program that builds community, exemplifies cultural proficiency, includes social-emotional learning, integrates field studies and expert visitors, responds to students' current knowledge/performance, and faces snow days, illnesses, and other unexpected events you can't predict the rate that you'll be able to teach each standard--it takes time.
To rev up the teaching motor however can challenge the warmth and comfort of classroom life and above all it is the relationship you have with children and the warmth with which you run the classroom that matters. If the teacher gets cranky, frustrated, or tired, it does no one any good. So this post is a reminder to self to warm up at this time of year and slow it down too. We can all do our best to teach all that is expected, but sometimes the expectations are not realistic for a number of reasons, and it's best to focus on the strength and care of the students first. Onward.