Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Rethinking Mondays

Mondays are the toughest teaching day this year. Why?

As I thought about that this morning, I realized that we have no time on Monday morning to reconnect as a team, and that may be part of the problem. Students arrive at school on Monday mornings filled with weekend stories and experiences, and it may be that we have to build in some Monday morning connect time.

It's tough to change the schedule midyear since so many specialists are already scheduled to support students throughout the day. These specialists support students throughout the school so it is nearly impossible to change their schedules now. However, I want to make note of this need for a Monday morning class check-in as I think ahead to the 2020-2021 schedule.

There are a few other scheduling changes that we can make to make Monday better. One change is to provide greater and more tailored services to a few students, services that include a morning check-in list and support, explicit review and discussion about the day's schedule, and more support for independent times of study. We have a meeting today where we may have time to discuss this. I can also add an Open Circle time for Monday afternoons. Students generally look forward to these circle meetings, meetings where we discuss issues important to students and school.

Recognizing the impact of change on children is also important. As I analyzed Monday's challenge, I recognized that there were many changes occurring that day and in recent days. My colleague and I were at a professional meeting on Friday. A beloved teaching assistant has been absent for a number of days. A new substitute greeted them on Monday morning since I was at a professional meeting, and there was a teaching change at our grade level. While some children flow easily with change, others meet change with anxiety, worry, and unpredictable behavior. It is good to be mindful of this when changes occur.

Mondays have been the toughest day this year, all year. Hopefully this analysis will help to mitigate the challenges Monday presents in the months ahead.