Learning The Art of Teacherly Love

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
May 29 2013

Labor Day Stress-Memorial Day Bliss

As I prepared to return to school on Monday night following a weekend of cook-outs, lawn games, sales, and an extra day of sleeping in, I thought back to our first 3-day weekend this school year,  Labor Day.
What has changed since September?  Why is it better? How do I know its better? How have I grown?

Thinking back to that Tuesday we returned from Labor Day Weekend, I recall saying, “If they are this crazy after an extra day off, I vote for no more 3-day weekends.”  Now… Why on earth would I ever say that?!  I change my vote; every weekend should be 3 days, no matter how crazy they are on the day we come back to school.

This change in attitude towards the 3-day weekend comes not only from the exhaustion of nearing the end of the school year, but also the growth that I have made as a teacher.  The things I was so consumed by at the beginning of the year, when that Labor Day break came, are no longer that worrisome.  When we returned from Labor Day, I was still obsessing over getting every student on-task, doing the right thing, at the right time, all the time.  I was systematically setting up our classroom procedures, still staying late after school, creating and recreating, trying to organize and reorganize, color-coding, and simply put, working way too hard on things that were not that effective or efficient.  All the things I was stressing over eventually had to be changed or readjusted anyways, yet, I was that teacher.  The annoying one, too concerned about the loss of one more day to make progress and get things done.
Following Memorial Day, I am much less concerned with this aspect of classroom life.  If I don’t have 100% of their attention 100% of the time… Oh well.  If I could tell my post-Labor Day self one thing, I would have to grab my shoulders, give myself a good shake, and say, “Slow down.  Breathe.  It will all get done.  You are doing fine, and you will do better.”

And it’s true.  I am still doing fine.  I have gotten better.  And as of yesterday, all of my IEPs for the year have been written, and tomorrow will be my final IEP meeting.  All 8 of my original boys, plus the 2 I was graciously given during the year, will have their new IEPs finalized.  The rest of this year’s work will get done too, in time.

I have stopped obsessing, and because of it, I have become a much healthier and efficient teacher.  The sense of peace I have towards our work and our classroom just makes each day easier.  At the end of the day, I truly leave work at work, and I can go home to enjoy life outside of Room 306, without the worrying.
In just a few short weeks, summer will be here, and I will be enjoying life outside of Mann for an extra extended weekend, with that peaceful feeling to carry with me, all summer long…

Looking forward to more days that end like this:

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    Dare to Teach with Love… Never cease to Learn.

    Greater Philadelphia
    Elementary School
    Special Education

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