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Monday, June 11, 2018

Field Studies, Special Events, and More

The end of the school year is filled with special events. Students look forward to those special events, and the events serve, in part, as celebrations and goals that inspire the typical daily work during the school year. It's wonderful to look forward to a field trip, special visitor, special event, or celebration and then those special days break up the regular routine. I also like the kind of learning that happens during these special days as it's a different kind of learning that exposes students to new experiences and ways of looking at the world.

All these special events, however, demand greater coverage and energy. To lead a field trip means that you don't get your planning periods, lunch, or restroom breaks. It also means that you have to be twice as diligent to make sure that all the children stay safe and use their best behavior while they engage in the event. The same is true for many special events--your breaks don't exist. Those who don't teach twenty or more students all day every day often don't understand the need for a planning, lunch, or restroom break during the day. These breaks are essential to your good demeanor and ability to keep on doing the good work you do. Every teacher of large groups of students know this and that's why these breaks occur in most teachers' schedules. The days when you don't have a break or you're not able to easily use a restroom or have a lunch break are much more exhausting and challenging than days when you have those breaks.

Further the special days demand more of students too. That's why I believe that some students' service providers should go on field studies and also be available for special events and special days. When there are extra skilled hands for these events, the events go better. When an educator is stretched too think and students don't get the services they require, these special days are more challenging.

In general since the end of the year is a sensitive time of year with lots of extra work, I think that when it comes to teaching the students it should be an all-hands-on-deck time of year which means a time of year when every staff member spends significant time with students.

I know this time of year is challenging for many since there's added paperwork, less planning time, and more special events before, during, and after school. I wouldn't want to change this special time of year, however, I think it might be good to thin about how we staff and plan the many special events too and perhaps make sure that every educator gets their breaks and planning periods too so the expectations are reasonable.