Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February's Cruel Joke.

Last week, I talked about the often-random questions asked of Teachers of the Gifted, and my overwhelming difficulties in choosing what to keep, and what to toss, as I clean cabinets and classrooms of resources.  Sure, math teachers have math resources -- and some of them might even have a slide rule in a closet somewhere, just for old time's sake.  English teachers have anthologies and commentaries, history teachers may keep maps and globes long beyond the inception of redrawn boundaries. 

But Teachers of the Gifted?  How do we determine relevance of materials?

The truth is, we can't.

 Who would have ever expected to say (or hear) THAT?

Today Sarah and I discovered that in addition to being incredibly, unbelievably, cold, February also has played its annual cruel trick where it suddenly ends without warning.  It's easy to look at the calendar, see the date, and assume that on the 23rd or 24th, one has somewhere close to a full week before the arrival of the next month.  HA HA!, taunts February.  This is not the case.  

When my kids were little, I recall a Cub Scout leader scheduling meetings on the last Friday of the month -- unless, of course, the last Friday of the month happened on the first Friday of the next month.  Then you had two meetings in one month.  You heard me right.  I realize that our new-found logic on February makes about as much sense as the scout leader, but when you're working with dozens of kids who are independently working on dozens of projects, hoping to hit deadlines for National History Day, Science Fair entries, and writing competitions all in March, every day, every week, is precious.

We know the deadlines; the kids know the deadlines.  And we all love deadlines -- especially the sound they make as they whoosh on by.  But much like the Grinch attempting to keep Christmas from coming, well, we can't keep them from coming.

Our room was full of kids working on projects in various states of competition -- including a team who are POST competition, already dissecting their Future City model, planning revisions and updates for their entry next year.  I sensed a frustration coming from my colleague.  Science Fair is coming.  She has two kids working on projects.  One accidentally washed her notes, plants are dying, and -- my favorite statement of the day -- "February is playing a cruel joke.  There is no way that this poor child can build a ukelele by Friday."

Given that tomorrow is Wednesday, and we are only in the building one more day this week, I'd say that's a fair assumption.

An odd, accurate, and fair assumption.

Sarah's right.  February is playing a cruel joke.  I'm not talking about wind chill here, and I know that more than a few of my community are quite willing to listen to February whoosh past us, pushing us that much closer to spring.  Meanwhile, she and I will beg teachers to release our kids to work on random projects in our room, and we'll salvage the projects that can be salvaged, and remind every single one of the researchers that the process is more important than the product, and that there is still next year to build that ukelele.

Because we won't throw anything out, and we have plenty of cabinets for resources.  Fortunately for us, they don't have glass doors, allowing us to be the hoarders of inspirational resources that is our destiny.