In a teacher's life, the year is broken down into chunks that mark the time. This allows us to get past the rougher periods, hang on for the times we can take a breath, and stay positive. For example, the first important marker of time in the school year occurs on Halloween. This is about seven to eight weeks into the new school year and several things have normally occured.
#1 Your class understands the rules and is typically better behaved than the first few weeks of school. They realize that you mean business.
#2 Conferences, Curriculum Night, MEAP, and the first hectic weeks of school are over and everyone is settled into the routine. You can resume some of your "life outside of school" by meeting friends and relaxing some on the weekend.
#3 You can see November and December right around the corner. And that means Thanksgiving break and December break. These are vital to our survival in January, February, and March.
#4 You realize that your class isn't really so bad. In fact, you are beginning to actually like them. In thirty-some days, you've managed to learn about twenty-something students and their famililies. You know the strengths and weaknesses of your students and are implementing plans to ensure they grow throughout the year.
#5 The season has changed, the weather is getting cooler, and it's dark shortly after you arrive home from school (and in the morning when you're driving to school). The weather change can get one down, especially with the darkness. There's more of a chance of indoor recess, which makes for some long days. But I'm staying positive about it all and really enjoying the scenery as the seasons change.
So, we chunk our year into Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December break. Then we hang on and try to stay positive during January and February and March. We learn to make a big deal out of Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day, just for a break in the routine. Spring break in April comes at a time we need it most, and we come to the realization that we are going to make it through the year. We look at the kids and see that they have grown and done well and that we are going to miss them when they leave us. We dare to plan and dream of the summer days approaching to re-energize. And then the best part - we get to do it all again the next year.
So far this year, I've been hanging in there and staying positive for the most part. My goal to have a year full of positivity is now more of a reality than a pipe dream. And teacher friends, keep in mind - three more (teaching) days until we can check off the first "chunk" in our teacher calendar year.