Monthly Advice–April

For the most part, this year, spring break is in April; therefore, I must advise you:

Enjoy your spring break.

Take more than a day, or a weekend, away from work. Enjoy more than a weekend’s worth of time off.

No lesson planning, no grading, no time in the classroom–absolutely nothing work related–for as much time as possible during this break. Take an actual break.

You have earned this time off, you have earned this break, so please, please make sure to enjoy spring break.

 

Monthly Advice–March

This month, a bit of humor, and a bit of truth:

Spring fever is real.

March 20, 2019 is the first day of spring.

Spring fever is defined as: restlessness and excitement associated with the start of spring. It is further defined, and known as mood, emotional, and behavioral changes that result from the arrival of spring.

With record breaking cold and rains, with a polar vortex that made parts of the US colder than Antarctica, with my own sentiments that winter weather has lasted much too long, I most assuredly anticipate spring fever.

There’s nothing I can offer to help alleviate concerns, or ward off this illness, my advice is only to remind you, or tell you, that it exists.

Spring fever is real: either you will feel it, or your students will feel it, or your co-workers will!

Whoever catches it, just be kind–this too shall pass . . .

Monthly Advice–February

Don’t eat too much candy.

February is a short month, but it has two massive candy-inducing possibilities: Valentine’s Day and the 100th Day of School.

So, just a reminder: take it easy on the candy.

I know the level of stress right now, I know some of that candy is delicious, and I know that the days are long. However, cold & flu season is coming to an end, New Year’s resolutions are hopefully still at play, and eating well is paramount to your health.

Therefore, I urge you to put some candy aside for friends, family, or the teachers’ lounge. It’s okay to have some, just don’t have it all–trust me, a few makes for a sugar rush, but too many makes for a stomach ache–a stomach ache at work? Nobody wants that.

So take all that candy, and pick out a few, and giveaway the rest, you’ll be happy in the end, I promise . . .

Monthly Advice–January

Start fresh.

***

It’s a new year!

You’re coming back from winter/summer break, depending on where you are in the world. It’s January, it’s 2019. It’s a brand new calendar year. This can be a new start for you, and your kiddos.

The greatest thing about a long break is the energy and life that comes after it. So, the greatest thing we can do as teachers in January is start fresh.

Interpret that as you will:

  • Write a few classroom specific resolutions.
  • Have your students write a few school-centered resolutions.
  • Participate in a deep-clean of the classroom. Get your students involved–make the fresh start tangible, visible.
  • Revise/create new academic goals.
  • Let go. Let go of any lingering doubt, regret, or negative memories. Teaching is hard, being a student is hard–we all have days, lessons, and moments that are less than beautiful, let them go.
  • Redecorate your room.
  • Change all assigned groups.
  • Rearrange furniture.
  • Buy a few new work outfits. 😉

Whatever you do, figure out how to breathe new life into your work. The year, and learning, has begun again, so start fresh. 😁

 

Monthly Advice–December

Sometimes less is more.

Sometimes inquiring about something unknown leads to a great discovery.

***

As you know, in the United States, the Christmas market is overwhelming.

Before you plan and execute two to three weeks worth of Christmas festivities, insert Christmas-themed worksheets, and read a Christmas-inspired novel each day, consider the following:

  • Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Although considered a Christian holiday, even some Christians do not celebrate Christmas.
  • Christmas celebrations vary wildly. Ethnicity, race, income, religion, are just a few meaningful and highly influential factors that determine any holiday celebration.
    • Is what you do, or include, reflective of your worldview, or many worldviews?
  • There are holidays all year long–why emphasize this one over all others?
    • If the same amount of time is not spent on other celebrations, what exactly gives this holiday added merit in the curriculum?
  • Is spending one lesson on Hanukkah and ten on Christmas really inclusive and meaningful, or does it merely provide a way to assuage guilt?
    • Someone once told me that they knew Christmas well, so that’s why there’s more of it in their classroom. If that’s your rationale, is there anyone to help you? Is there anyone to teach you, and your kids, about other traditions?

This is an ongoing discussion I have had for 11 years in my classroom, and with my coworkers.

I have always taught in public schools, which requires the separation of church and state. I understand that private schools and other forms of schooling may not need to consider religious-based questions in the same way I do.

However, the reflection aspect, thinking about why we do certain things in our classroom, even with the best intentions, is always beneficial.

This month, before you plan anything, I encourage you to think critically and plan mindfully. More happens in December than we realize . . .