We’ve entered that magical last two weeks, one day, and four hours of school. That time when kids and teachers and parents can see the end, and they’re happy/sad/wound up/depressed/excited. A time when we should be coasting, enjoying each other’s company and knowing exactly what each day will bring. A time to reflect on the year and everything we’ve learned together.
Instead, I feel conflicted. My battery is simultaneously being drained by what’s happening in the time we have left and recharged as I look toward next year. Figuring out how to fit in the last 4.3 science objectives I have to teach, finish up book clubs, make math worthwhile, grade final writing pieces, and power through the last spelling unit, all while making time for the talent show, a fun run, a field trip, and Innovation Week has me stressed. When I get to my room, though, I’ll start thinking of all the possibilities next year holds. How can I rearrange things to make it more comfortable? What if I got a futon? How can I run 20% Time better? How can I make every subject more project based? What new challenges will I have to overcome?
In the midst of all of this, I want to keep my kids engaged. Trying to innovate in this limbo time is tough. Most of the innovation comes in the form of scheduling. What can I move where to maximize my time, keep kids focused and learning, but not overwhelm all of us? The part of my brain looking ahead makes it difficult to do this at times. I still want to try new things, and my class knows me now. What better time to push them ahead?
So I’ll try a few things in the coming weeks. Have them turn in a video instead of a worksheet. Try to have student-run book clubs. Move some furniture around. But in the 15 years I’ve (almost) got under my belt, I’ve also learned not to change things up too much this time of year. Kids need structure, need to know that when they come in the morning the routine will be about the same as it was the day before. This keeps us all sane and happy, and I don’t want to mess with that.
Okay. Maybe just a little. You can’t stay in limbo forever.
And next year’s kids? I can’t wait to get my ideas on them.