Today I began to feel the holiday rush in full force. If there is one thing I'm frustrated by this year, it is my schedule. I complain about all the pull-outs all the time. However, I'm not sure I have complained about "No Teach Tuesday." This is what I've coined our new Tuesday schedule. Again, I know that decisions have been made with the best of intentions. Still, I hate the results. On Tuesdays, the kids come in beginning at 9:00 AM. By the time they've checked in and our school has read morning announcements and had the school-wide Pledge of Allegiance, it is 9:25. I get to teach until 11:55 when my students head off to a weekly social skills class that is a combination of Second Step, an anti-bullying program, and PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). Meanwhile, the fourth-grade team meets for our data block. This data block was instituted a few years back in the interest of giving teachers time to look at assessment data and plan for interventions, etc. It was a good idea then. The students then go to recess and lunch and return to class at 1:30. At 1:45 fourteen of my 22 students head off to chorus. It would be great if the students who remained were ones who needed extra support or additional time to meet classroom standards but for the most part, that isn't the case. The students return at 2:30 and head directly to technology where they remain for the rest of the day.
Today was Wednesday. Wednesday is a great day. I have an hour and a half more teaching time on Wednesdays. It makes a difference. But, not today. Today the tech teacher asked to work with my students for an extra half hour. She wanted to finish up a project with them. I would have felt terrible saying no. Then, my students spent a half hour Christmas shopping at the holiday shop. In the end, it was another hour of teaching time lost.
Here is the thing. I have quite a list to accomplish before the holidays too. There is this opinion piece that really should be done by now. Yet, it lingers on. I want to finish our class novel before the holiday break and there are a few math games and a routine that I'd love to introduce in addition to our regular math lessons. I can't believe I have only 6.5 days before winter break.
And of course, there is the big rush in my personal life. I have just over a week to make the Christmas magic happen. There are still gifts to buy, a couple of jam-packed weekends that will include my daughter's performance in the Nutcracker, a day long track meet in Boston, and two Sundays spent driving to and from field hockey practices and games.
Despite all the mayhem, my students have been hard working and surprisingly focused. I guess we'll just take it one day at a time. The holidays should be magical and stress free for kids. I'm going to keep my stress in check. I'm going to try to chill out and not get so caught up in the big rush. I'm going to focus on the joy. It is a choice.