Picture this. You are on a huge ship, a pirate ship if you will. The boat sways to and fro with the movement of the ocean. Back and forth, the rocking from the waves used to make you sick, but now you have your sea legs. On all four sides of your ship you can see ocean for days. The map you hold in your hand shows where you are in the water, where you’ve been, and your final boating destination. As you chart the course for your journey, adjustments are made to ensure you and your shipmates arrive unscathed.
Thinking back to the beginning of the journey, it is hard to believe you have been at sea since August. Where has the school year gone? I don’t know about you, but I remember jumping onto this crazy ship at the beginning of the year thinking, “We have SO much to learn! I can’t wait….” The year starts out unknown, with so many possibilities. Teachers attend professional development, read books, take some much needed “me-time” in order to prep for the year. You knew the this year would be different than others because there is ALWAYS something new to try with your students. Possibility and the unknown were before you, all that existed was the open ocean.
Let’s fast forward to right now, the end of November. It is hard to believe that in only four-ish weeks students and teachers will be rolling into Winter Break. Four weeks! Gah! There is so much to teach, to learn, to glean. The kids would benefit from some lessons on empathy, the joy of encouragement, helping others, and more, to say nothing of what we need to learn in our core academic subjects. BUT there are only four weeks!
This time of year is a great time to re-evaluate and examine, “What am I doing and what can I do better?” As the captain of my classroom, I am tasked with charting the course of learning. I have the honor, privilege, and responsibility of figuring out where my students are, where they need to be by the end of the year, and how in the world we’ll get there. The adventure will be a wild ride through language arts, history, math, science, writing, and character development.
Do not be afraid to make adjustments. They are needed for you and for your students. Doing what is best, right, and needed to get to the final destination is key. What that looks like is up to you. Chat within your personal learning network, talk to your administration or learning coach, give your students a survey, try something new – it’s not too late! Course adjustments SHOULD happen. With four weeks until break, do it! Why wait until January? Change can lead to greatness. I don’t want to be cliche, but I have learned a TON from my students and hope they have learned as much from me. Good luck to all of you classroom captains out there. Your journey will be AMAZING. Chart the course that is best for students and have fun along the way.
Mena T. Hill
Educator, Wife, Mother, Colorado Native