Is it Sink or Swim Time in the Classroom?
After a long weekend and parent teacher interviews, it was nice to get back to the normalcy of the classroom. When holding high student expectations, a more vocal presence is needed. Half way through February and more than half way through the year, it is almost a bittersweet feeling that hits the young teacher around this time of year. Knowing that report cards for term one are sent home, interviews are over, and all the notes from September to February are tucked away, it feels good to have the first half of the year behind us now. It is almost like looking downhill and although we are still miles away from Spring break and what seems like light years away from the end of the year, it still feels good to know that in due time that “light at the end of the tunnel” will soon appear.
However, it is also a wake up call when you think about the idea of covering as much as we need to cover and only having a few months left to do so. In the first semester of elementary school, you almost get the sense of having unlimited time. There always seems to be another day to complete that assignment or start that lesson. Small activities and assignments linger on through those first few months – for better or for worse. Things are starting to change around this time of year.
It is starting to seem like every day counts. The aura of endless time has evaporated into the atmosphere of urgency with a realization that things must get moving at a more hastily pace. That is the place where I am at now. I feel my students and myself need to remain sharp, determined, and focused over the next few weeks. We need to work ourselves back into “game shape” with regards to completing assignments, activities and lessons. It is hard picking things back up after winter break but I feel like we are finally hitting our stride. I have been preaching the entire year to my students that before they know it, it will be “sink or swim time”. And, in all honesty, now is that time for all of us.
The stretch from February to May will take a more elevated academic pace and we all need to buckle up for it. These months do fly by and as a young teacher, this is the time where you should be hitting your stride – fully understanding of what you are capable of doing and not doing, and to what pace. More importantly, you should now have 100% understanding of the comfort zone of your students, as well as a sound idea of what they are and are not capable of. It is time to push them out of that comfort zone and challenge their “status quo” a little bit. February is a key time for holding high student expectations. Everybody will feel a higher sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when all is said and done if this challenge is asked for and subsequently attained.
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