Slice of Life Tuesday: We’re back…now what???!!!


Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers


It is dark and dank when I leave for school.  A cold drizzle sweeps across the roadways, and I settle into the drive to the beat of windshield wipers.  My headlights pick up hulking shadows by the side of the road – Christmas trees dragged out the night before  in time for the final leaf pick up of the year just past.  They look spent, all their holiday sparkle now a distant memory.

Our classroom looks smaller, somehow, when I walk in. With a jolt I remember that I had forgotten to put our desks back in their usual formation the afternoon I hurried out for winter break: our “dance floor” greets me, as do the sticky remains of our holiday party. Our classroom needs to be brought quickly into 2017, and so I set to work.

Before long, I hear students climbing up the stairs and making their way into hallways.  Their treads sound lethargic, heavy  with regret and foreboding.  Their voices, usually filled with the boisterous exuberance of middle school, sound subdued and sleepy as well.  So, I am prepared for what walks into our classroom: sorrowful children, morose that winter break is over, unused to being awake when it’s still dark outside, and tired…oh, so tired.

Soon, the bell rings and our day officially begins with the Pledge and morning announcements.  We are on automatic pilot, going through the motions with whatever energy is there to summon…which is not very much, it seems.  And then there is a moment when we consider each other, quietly.

September’s shiny novelty has worn off: everything from our pencil cases to our lunch boxes are on their journey from “spanking new” to “well worn with good use”.  And, I suppose, you can say the same for us – the novelty of being together as a learning community has settled into the comfort and challenge of knowing all about each other, and working hard together anyway.

That’s the shift after winter break; all the adjustments and getting-to-know-each-others is out of the way; now begins the work of pushing ourselves to reach higher, to take what we have learned of ourselves as learners and set new goals rather than just settle in.

So, we consider each other.  We know each other well enough to know what we are thinking at this moment: here we all are, let’s breathe out the old year and let’s breathe in the new.

T.S. Eliot. Quote for the new year!:


16 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: We’re back…now what???!!!

  1. Indeed. Part of the joy of teaching––I feel––is that each day or month or year is a chance to let the past go and move forward. Our emotions are up and down, but our love for learning and growing is steady. Loved this peek into your classroom right now.

  2. The Eliot words fit in many ways, don’t they? You’ve described that return well, but tomorrow will be another day, and the school day will seem as if there was no vacation. Enjoy the day, we have cold again and snow coming. January!

  3. I have always found the stretch between January and Easter to be soooo long. I don’t know if it is the morning dark and early evening dark of the threat of inclement weather happening any tiome that makes the days seem to drag. However, the hope of Spring is always there.

  4. The dark and drizzle made for added challenge this morning I thought. I love your descriptions here Tara. I always find that the students look bigger after this break (but of course I am teaching younger ones who seem to grow so quickly.) I love the quote at the end. Happy New Year to you.

  5. “Let’s breathe out the old year and breathe in the new.” So true…coming back after winter break (or any break for that matter) is hard, but I bet it won’t be long until you see your exuberant students again! I can always tell from your writing, that you bring a magic to the classroom that will bring many new things to your students. Happy New Year!

  6. What a perfect quote. This is my favorite time of the teaching year. Something amazing happens as things settle over the break. The hard work of setting up the protocols and building the community is done, and things settle into such a wonderful rhythm. But this is my first year being so focused in middle school. They were indeed, so tired.

  7. Your wisdom is showing! I love the view of your desk. I am looking forward to going back tomorrow. I am ready now. My tree is at the curb. My closets are cleaned. But I’m sure some of these same sounds will be heard. Yet, there are miles to go. Miles to go.

  8. You certainly captured how this first day was for many of us….dark with remains of last year and yet with the promise of a new year…..a long stretch with miles of learning ahead.

  9. What a great description of January! I was realizing today that last year I didn’t come back to my classroom in January — I took an instructional coaching job for the second half of the year. It’s interesting to look at January with students again. it’s different… and today was a tired day for all of us… but it isn’t bad.. so much learning to come! Thanks for writing this.

  10. Love: Breathe out the old year to breathe in the new year.
    I had a Twitter message around 11:30 p.m. last night about a book he read during the break and his excitement about talking to me about the book. It’s almost enough to make me ready for school.

    Happy New Year.

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