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Just as our school day was ending today, I chanced to see this message from Dr. Mary Howard dance across my Twitter feed:
It had been a long day, and I was still recovering from a nasty bout of the flu. “Rejuvenation” was certainly a word which stood out right away…but Mary’s question stayed with me as I cleaned up our classroom and headed home from work. It stayed with me as I logged on to Google classroom and finished up one more round of revision suggestions for my students as they wind down their multi genre writing pieces. It is with me still, as I pack up my back pack for tomorrow’s school day:“What commitment will you make to elevate your work in the coming year?”
It is hard to think of making anew a fresh new school year at the tail end of the old school year, when grading and filing and cleaning and saying goodbye are the order of the day. I find myself looking longingly at pictures of our farm, my summer home, and doing just as my kiddos are wont to do: counting the days until summer is here at last, and I am there. Both my students and I definitely need some personal rejuvenation!
But, I often find the seeds of summer professional rejuvenation in the routines of the last days of school: consolidating writing portfolios, evaluating reading journals, assessing the last writing pieces, composing the goodbye letters. Each of these tasks reveal areas in which, if I’m paying attention and being honest, I can make commitments to elevate my work in the coming year. Even as I celebrate the hard work we’ve done, and the distance we’ve traveled as a class, I can jot notes about what fell through the cracks or was not followed through. I am out of teaching ideas and very low on teaching energy in these last days of school, but now is when the “what if?” and “why not?” and “maybe if?” questions begin to dart about in my weary head. So, I make note of these, right now, as ways in which to explore a commitment to elevate my work in the coming year.
To that end I have summer reading and learning planned:
which is a great way, really, to end the school year: looking backwards with affection and reflection, and looking forwards with anticipation and purpose.