I've been stretched lately due to a big project we're working on in math. The project is creating productive struggle and lots of questions. I simply am s t r e t c h e d trying to help everyone, look over the work, and keep the momentum going. That stretch is stressful leading to a bit of crankiness too. What's a teacher to do?
I could give up on the project, but I know that this project is good for students' learning--it's rich, deep, and thoughtful. The results of the project will be much better and greater openness to the explicit teaching/learning that will follow.
I could just take a deep breath and let it happen without worry or stress--this is a good idea as when students are engaged in productive struggle there's an element of patience needed for both teachers and students.
And I have added an extra help session to make space for more student help and support.
Big projects especially when done for a first time are not met with the same level of support that typical paper/pencil-worksheet-like learning. Big projects can leave some educators shaking their heads with questioning or disproval and can elicit less than helpful comments at times which makes the project work even more difficult, however, I am going to stay on this path until week's end when the projects are due. I've seen some good learning and terrific, positive struggle. My reading of what it takes to learn in brain-friendly ways supports this work. Of course it can be done with a bit more finesse, but that takes practice.
So the next steps find me supporting students' steady work with lots of one-to-one and small group help online and off in the next few days. I'll review the projects over vacation and make some decisions about the next floor-to-ceiling project we engage with. Onward.