Some of you have already finished your school year, so feel free to get all reflective by the pool. Others of us, however, are still finishing up with final exams, packing rooms, submitting grades, and all the other end of the year chaos. For those of you at home—enjoy. For the rest of us—hang tight, we'll be missing these kiddos in a few short weeks!
I'm going to take the opportunity right now to give myself some advice for next year. Every year, at some point, if you are anything like me, you've muttered, "Remind me next year..." followed by something really obvious, like, "Don't give a quiz the day before Thanksgiving Break" or "Remember that it is a notable truth that eighth graders cannot control their impulses and use their phones for a review game without Snapchatting." In hopes that my "remembers" might be more useful, here are three:
Remember, everything takes at least one day—usually two days—more than I plan to do any unit. There's a random snow day, the Monday that I forgot is a holiday and is actually not a teaching day, and of course my own sniffly sneezing kiddos who need me to stay home at some point. If, by some miracle, we finish the entire unit early, there's this amazing new invention called Netflix.
- Remember, cringy, silly, and musically embarrassing songs and mnemonics will help students learn. Loosen up. Lots of fabulous teachers sing. Come on. Take a risk Amber. Here are some amazing examples to inspire you. This is great for ENL, this is great for math. and this one for a tour of the states for social studies. Every year I hope I'll do this, but I don't.
- Think of a good Halloween costume. Start thinking now. This can be really stressful. Two kids who need creative costumes of their own, 120 students who will judge you (they can't help it), and the pressure is too much. Seriously, remember this one early. Like starting right after the 4th of July. (Minion, as it turns out, is actually pretty great. I might steal the pinball machine idea of my daughter's next year)
These are just a few of the many things I want to remember for next year. There are all kinds of nice, sentimental, and inspiring things too, but did I mention that school's not out yet and things are getting a little harried? Lunches are lacking, I'm wearing jeans by Wednesday, and I seriously spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to sort my students into exam rooms, weighing the merits of "by homeroom" or "by class period," and even entertained, "alphabetically," just to walk on the wild side. If you are curious, "by class period" won. It always does.
My next blog will share some of the gems that you all send to me, and I hope that my thoughts here spark something in you! Follow me @MsAmberChandler and use #AMLE to join our cross-platform conversation. Also, subscribe to this blog to stay up to date on the topics we're discussing. The question this month is: What do you need to remember for next year? Thanks for your contributions!
Published June 2019.