Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fa La La La La, La La La La.

By the time you hit the Wednesday before Christmas as a teacher at Donegal High School, you are focused on one of three things:  1.  How much you have to accomplish with students before the holiday, 2.  How much you have to accomplish at HOME before the holiday,  and 3.  What insane skit will you be doing in the annual Talent Show in the final hours before the break. Sure, I'm overwhelmed by the fact that I bought Christmas cards in October, fully intending to complete THAT event over Thanksgiving -- and then found out that Ben and Bailey would be getting engaged, so I waited for pictures to be included in the cards -- and not a single cookie has been baked, and there are presents to wrap, and a tree that isn't fully decorated yet, and the greens for the front door are still in the back of Kristin's car since we got them on Sunday.

Yes, it is true.  I can barely take a breath.  Yet I absolutely love every single minute of this time of year.

Breathing - and Flapping.

My Information Literacy students are in full research mode.  For freshmen, the culminating "big research paper" is paralyzing.  For others, I've been threatening detention if they don't get their outstanding work completed.  (And I really have NEVER done that before!)  There is a huge difference, in my mind, between the kids who work diligently during every class, yet don't quite hit the deadlines for one reason, or another, and the kid (s) who decide to chat, daydream, or be distracted doing "research" on the internet without visiting a single database.  (You know who you are!)  The internet is a dangerous place.  They should know that, because we already completed the unit on internet safety, yet they get sucked in by the shiny things, the funny things, and, well, anything that is more fun than research, which is pretty much anything else in the world.

The aforementioned previous group frequently contains a wide-eyed and panicking individual who is practically hyperventilating at the thought of the final projects, papers, and facing their very first final exams in January.  To those kids I've frequently been saying BREATHE.  For some of them, breathing hasn't been enough, and we've added wings -- to fly into break without taking the burden of backpacks and books and projects and papers.

I'm overwhelmed.  They're overwhelmed.  And it's not just the Info. Lit class.  My gifted kids are waiting for Early Decisions and Early Actions from prestigious colleges, or scrutinizing PSAT and SAT scores, or worrying about AP classes.  There is very little breathing happening, and even less sleep.  This semester, which I've mentioned before, we're Thinking Like da Vinci, and are headed into our unit on Corporalita.  da Vinci had it right -- there's a need to find balance and focus in life.

We need to find time for reflection, for daydreaming, and for down time.  Many of our kids don't know how to breathe and relax.  Many of the adults don't, either.  So watch out, my friends!  We're headed for strategies to make it through the holidays and finals.  And we'll share them with you.

Go daydream.  Just for 10 minutes.

Breathe, and Flap.