Oh yeah, baby. 90-90 that’s the most recent landmark we’ve hit in the public schools. Not sure what that means? Oh, you do know- let me jog your memory. There are 180 days in a school year and we hit the 90 day mark this week; so from here forward our perspective changes. We are no longer working up to the 180th day. Now, we have officially started a count down from 90.
Following this logic, only 88 days of school remain. Doesn’t that sound glorious?! Never mind that the next 60 days will come with no breaks in between. It’s full weeks from now until spring break.
Does the saying, “Long days and short years” mean anything to you?
It could if you are experiencing any of the following scenarios. Imagine spending days with restless children who haven’t been outside due to inclement weather for a week at a time. Or, perhaps you’re sitting with a child who struggles. Those minutes can seem like hours when your heart is breaking. Maybe you’re surrounded by sick children who have been sent to school anyway. Drooping, dragging, coughing, sneezing… It happens doesn’t it? But, you press on with the routine.
One administrator I worked for referred to this period between the end of the second quarter and throughout the third quarter of school as the “death march.” This is the time when children and teachers slog it out day after day balancing the results of winter testing with the number of days left until spring testing. It could be a daunting period, BUT you know what? It doesn’t have to be!
We teachers are in charge of our own days. We may be surrounded by restless children, struggling children, or even sick children, but we still have choice.
“Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours,” is the phrase my current administrator uses on our morning show every day. It is so true. We can step it up. We can choose to inject good humor, love, and patience into every day. After all, we realize these are the days when so many little minds pop wide open.
Eventually the weather will give you a break and the children will get to run outside- even if only for a few minutes. It is our calling to constantly work with our struggling folks. Their little successes are the reasons we love this job, right? Finally, most all illness is temporary when it comes to little ones.
So I encourage you to choose to be fully present with your students every day. This choice will allow you to be fully awake and aware when the light bulbs come on; when the children take off. Whichever phrase you like to use the bottom line is that this time of year is the big leap for many children.
It is exciting and exhausting all at once.
I urge you to keep this in mind as you make the trek to school every day. Remember, just as the winter season gives us hints of the promise of spring and the new growth that accompanies it, so will these next 60 school days show us the promise of growth in our students that is delivered by consistent, compassionate, and competent teaching.
Rejoice teacher friends in this next phase of the year. This is the time that your children will amaze you as you continue to count down each long day that leads to the end of this short year.