Mixed Emotions — The Last Teaching Day of 2013

It’s the last night before a three week break, and I have mixed emotions.

I’m excited to have a change of pace and a refocus on home. I’m looking forward to lounging around reading a bit more.

I’m excited to have time to recharge and rethink. Sometimes I get so caught up in the moment I forget exactly where I was going when I started. The time to piece together ideas that are coming at me all at once in a slower, more methodical way is a luxury of time off.

I’m excited to be with my family, all together. Both sons should be home tomorrow night. That will make us five again. I value these times above all else. The time with just us five is limited.  As time goes by, their worlds get bigger and our role as parents gets smaller. So when they do direct their attention towards home, I sit up and pay attention.

But, at the same time…

I’m sad about the loss of routine; the disconnection to the day to day. While I love the less hectic pace, I can get lost without a looming deadline. Pressure makes me perform. The lack of it can lead to lots of disappearing time, and the feeling of, “what did I do today?”

I’m sad about loosing contact with my students. They are a part of my life and when they aren’t there, things are just a little off. I have purposely not started a new read aloud because I don’t want to leave something as important as a book up in the air for three weeks. It would feel like we deserted the characters.

I know that every year students come back from break a little more mature than when they left and are able to take on more difficult work. Time off from training the body or the mind allows for recovery and growth.

But (there is always a but), I worry that their reading and writing lives suffer. Thanks to the amazing teaching that precedes me and our school culture, my students know that reading is a must.

The writing part of their lives is a little less developed. For some, the opportunity to blog is there. They will do it because it’s fun and they love it. But many do not have access at home. I can send home books, notebooks, and pens, but I can’t send the internet or a device that allows them to connect to it. I can’t send them daily reminders to write.

What I can do is ask students to come up with their own personalized “game plan” for reading and writing. Perhaps a sort of nerdlution challenge will develop. Something that they define around reading and writing.

Here’s looking at the last teaching day of 2013, with hope for 2014.

Go #nerdlution.

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