Saturday, September 27, 2014

You Know You're a Teacher When...

You know you're a teacher when...
  • Your weekend planning begins on the ride home from school on Friday mentally calculating how much "school time" you need to reserve to get ready for the Monday morning bell. 
You know you're a teacher when...
  •  Even trips to the antique mall for relaxation wind up including purchases for that "special project" for one student or another.
You know you're a teacher when...
  • You gather supplies from your house for next week's lessons -- books, legos, and other trinkets that you are convinced will be better used/served by your students than your own family. 
You know you're a teacher when...
  •  You know that to stay balanced on the weekend you give up sleep instead of family time. 
I'm nearing the end of the Te@chthought #reflectiveteacher challenge.  So far, I haven't missed a day!  I'm a bit confused and flattered by the followers of this blog, but feel I must tell my teacher friends how much the process of forced reflective blogging (as opposed to talking about what I want to talk about) has been to my teaching.  I encourage you to try it -- even if the every day model doesn't work.  The reality is, this takes less than 30 minutes a day.  (Maybe that will help you excuse the grammar and punctuation mistakes!)

On to today's challenge!

Day 27

What role do weekends and holidays play in your teaching?

 The chart to the right isn't mine, but it certainly reflects the thought process of many teachers.  For a TOG (Teacher of the Gifted), the number of independent projects happening with my students at any given time is so varied, that my weekends are filled with post it notes on my computer screen to share with the project managers the following week.  

Perhaps it's a book I discover, or the perfect pin found in the antique mall for the National History Day project, or somebody in the community who casually mentions a passion or interest or expertise in the EXACT topic currently on the radar for one of my kids.
 I've nearly perfected the "I'm truly interested in what you're saying" look while inside screaming "THIS GUY IS PERFECT TO TALK TO (insert student name here) !"   Often it is a resource that I find browsing the databases at UCONN, who still hasn't kicked me out of the library access system, even though I finished my masters a year ago.  (Please don't rat me out!)

Our lesson plans are due in the system by 8 am on Monday for the entire week.  We have a template to complete for each lesson which, we are told, we must need more training on because it is the PERFECT template to use to teach, but none of us agrees with this.  Yet we fill it in, and then do whatever we need to do to draft plans that actually can function as a worthwhile tool for us in front of students.  It is a giant blessing and curse that our district has access to our online network and can work from home with access to all of our files.  The reality is that having semi-interrupted time to plan a week's worth of lessons is so much more worthwhile than the smidgins of time between parent phone calls, meetings with colleagues and administrators, and photocopying required makes the weekend seem like a blessing of time, even if I do often treat Sunday as the first day of my work week.

Our district uses most of the legal holidays, excluding the family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, as inservice days.  The kids are off for Columbus Day, we are analyzing data and in in-service training.  

In short, to be a teacher, you can't turn off the fascination in learning new things on the weekend.  We certainly don't want our students to shut down from Friday to Monday, and the same applies to teachers.  I can't imagine how difficult the reboot to my brain would be on Monday morning if I were not engaged and focused on my job -- albeit at a slower and more relaxed pace -- during the weekends.  We all fear the blue screen of death on our computers -- and in our brains.  D-L-R-O-W.  (Or should it be D-E-L-R-I-H-W?)  

The weekends, by design, are there for sanity.  And sometimes sanity means keeping your brain booted up with the job in the forefront.

Happy Weekend!

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