The Home Stretch

Today is my last day of Spring Vacation.  It has felt as though I’ve been away from school, and from blogging, for a long time!  Thanks to Ruth’s understanding about my need to take a vacation without my computer, I’ve really had some time to unwind, contemplate, and relax.  I’m ready for the final 47 days of the school year now, thanks to some time away in California and also to the inspiration I’ve gleaned from Ron Clark’s Book, The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children, which I began reading on my cross-country flight last week.  Although I’m not finished with the book (I’m taking it slow so I absorb everything! ;)), I am really enjoying the anecdontes Clark puts forth about the qualities that teachers can use to inspire our students to reach their potential.

We’re in the home stretch of the school year now… a time when I know I have to keep it fresh otherwise I will lose my kiddos to spring fever.  Therefore, Clark’s Chapter on “Adventure” as one of the 11 Qualities, was particularly poignant to me since I’m a little ho-hum about the remaining units of study I’m teaching this year.  [My student teacher is finishing the conventions unit before she departs on May 1st, which leaves me with a mini Test Prep Writing Unit and an essay unit.  (I’m peppering-in a poetry writing three days a week in June.)]  I realized, especially after reading Clark’s Chapter on “Adventure,” that I’ve got to do whatever it takes to bring the test writing and essay units to life for my kids.  This doesn’t mean field trips related to our units of study.  Rather, the adventure will come by me taking the kids outside on beautiful days for Workshop.  The adventure will also come by me being organized and smart about the execution of each of the units so that my teaching stays crisp even when the temperature reaches the 80’s and 90’s.  The adventure will also come by using my own writing, showing my students my process, and getting them to work though a belief essay, despite the June heat, that they can be proud to show others and put out into the world when they’re finished with it.

Regardless of when your school year began, you’re in the home stretch too.  If you’re looking for a little inspiration to keep your teaching fresh, then check out Clark’s Book.