As a child, my parents banned the phrase “Are we there yet?” As an adult I find my colleagues asking the very same question and I find myself banning the phrase! It’s mid-April and we are on the third of seven straight school days of ISTEP+. I get it. I’ve found myself saying things to my eighth graders I never thought I would say. “Stop twirling those scissors in the air!” “No, you may not poke a hole in her sweatshirt!” “Why are you pouring glue on your arm and why must it be in that inappropriate shape?” Yes, I get it. However, we are two weeks removed from Spring Break and yet we have already lost sight of the wonderful rejuvenation that occurred during that blissful week. Are we there yet? Four powerful words. These four powerful words can make or break the last month and a half of this school year.
1. “We’re Not There...Yet.”
Why not try replying with “We’re not there...yet!” The power of “yet”. Our school has been working on the growth mindset model this year and one concept that has stuck with me is the power of “yet”. Carol Dweck has an amazing TED Talk about the power of believing you can improve. I can hear you saying “I’m just trying to survive the last six weeks!” I know. We all are. Why not take this last six weeks to learn something new and apply it in your classroom? Is there something you’ve been wanting to do with your students all year and you just haven’t gotten around to it “yet”? Go for it! What are you waiting for? Time is running out! Don’t let these students leave your classroom without trying something new with them! Take this opportunity to learn together.
2. Engage, Engage, Engage
A critical key to keeping students from making
poor decisions in your classroom is keeping them engaged. This can be especially exhausting this time of year but you’ll be happy you took the extra time to create cool activities for students. Allow students the opportunity to create something. (Maybe hide the scissors and glue and stick with technology instead.) Have students teach their favorite lesson as a review for the final exam. One idea I can’t wait to try out (Thank you, Edutopia!) is having students create a commercial for my class for incoming students. Find the time to insert fun projects and engaging opportunities and ditch those worksheets!
3. Find Your “Why”
I’ve recently been introduced to a new health product and one of the activities the company has you complete when you begin the program is “Find Your Why”. Why do you want to get fit? Why are you choosing to do this? The company then encourages you to continue revisiting your “why” as motivation to keep going. The same concept can be applied to teaching. WHY did you choose to be a teacher? WHY do you go to work every day? Keep the answers to these questions close to your heart and at the forefront of your planning and you’ll make it through the last month and half like a champ. Find your “why”.
Enjoy the time you have left with your current students. Do not rob your students (or yourself!) of another awesome six weeks. Leave them with the lasting impression of just how awesome you are. We’re not there...yet. Continue engaging students. Revisit your “why”.