Did the title grab you? Great! But I’m not going to write about the holiday season although that seems to be what comes to mind by the middle of November. I am talking about the magic that comes when students are getting a good handle on their own learning.
This is the magic I see unfolding.
- We have some clear ideas of where we are going and what we are doing.
- We feel our whole beings are getting a lot of attention, not just our brains.
- We have interesting thinking and we are getting more eager to share that with others.
- We have a stronger social life within the classroom and we trust each other and the adults to do the right thing.
- When we don’t make the right choice, we know it will be addressed and we’ll get guidance with respect for everyone while we learn more.
- We want to ask questions of the experts.
- We love our Skype calls and make meaning from them.
- We can hear sounds in words and we are learning to identify the associated letters.
- We don’t have to spell correctly when we try to write, but we try to hit all the major sounds in words.
- We are counting higher and higher and with more meaning.
- We are running laps around the circle of bushes outside our classroom nearly every day and we are feeling powerful! Some of us are running 7 laps, and some are running 1 or 2 but we are great at it. Here’s an article on the importance of aerobic exercise for memory and academic performance.
- We have personal goals and we’re trying our hardest to reach them.
I spend a tremendous amount of time on planning and organizing data, far more than I did 10 years ago. This keeps me at school later than ever. This extra work is helping to make my teaching better but I have to wonder if the extra time I put in is worth the time I take from the rest of my life. I am working 10 – 12 hours or more every weekday, not only at school but also at home and on weekends. Just being honest here. My peers are reporting the same increase in their work loads.
For now, the children are making it all worthwhile. They fuel my own energy with their enthusiasm, hard work, and bright faces. I can see the reason I put in the time when your child brings their bright and happy face to school each day. They personify the magic.
I can also see why so many young educators bail out on this job. The expectations are only expanding and few educators feel they are truly respected for their extra efforts. It has to come from inside us, our passion for the work. The “system” is not looking to balance the work and rewards ratio, not even close.
People may question why I take the time to write posts on this blog. I do it for the time in reflection, for the purpose of sharing the lives of the students with their families, and I write for the many educators who count me in their PLNs. When the time crunch is at it’s tightest, I don’t have the time for reflection and that’s a dangerous place to be.
I wonder, are you passionate about the work you do?