Like lots of teachers, I am burnt to a crisp mentally by the time June arrives. Some years, this happens sooner – usually those are the years that can be identified as curriculum change years.
This year has been a particular challenge. You see, this year, everything was new again. I have been teaching for a l-o-n-g time and while I never teach the same things the same way twice – which makes sense, the kids are different and have different needs – one would think there would be something that would be connected to prior years.
Not true of the academic year that has just ended. We were charged with changing our math curriculum, our science curriculum, and our English Language Arts curriculum. The level of discomfort with curriculum was pretty high.
The amount of time preparing was off the charts. Why? Because anyone in the education field can tell you that those Grade 3-6 materials suggestions are often (mostly) directed toward students in the middle of that grade span. In other words, we – my grade level team and I – spent inordinate amounts of time trying to find comparable materials to teach our students.
My husband tells me that I’m a “magic bullet” kind of person. I am continually looking for the just right solution. To this end, I discovered a great book by Mike Anderson and published by ASCD: The Well-Balanced Teacher. If you are a study-guide kind of person, here is a link you might enjoy. FB fiends (guilty!) might like this page.
It has been an eye-opening read. And somewhat comforting to know that there are plenty of other educators feeling the same way I do about the need to work smarter and be more balanced. Ten months of 10- to 12-hour days does not make for a happy, creative teacher.
Summer is a time of renewal. A time to reset those parts of my life that have gone out of balance. It is time to make change good.