This year has been one for the record books. As a Canadian teacher, I am no stranger to snow days and snow banks, but both piled up like never before this year. It all started at the beginning of second semester and ended (I HOPE!) the week after March Break. The snow was not continuous, of course, but enough of that beautiful white stuff came down to result in fourteen days of missed classes due to one lane highways plugged with snow that had nowhere to go. Luckily we aren’t required to make them up; we just have to find creative ways to get everything covered.
After March Break, when we were off for three days for road clearing (what?), I started to stress about how I was going to get it all done: however could I do all that I needed to do with my students before exams in June?
1. Working with my students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn. We all have it, that innate drive to know and understand. With every unit I teach, I find ways to show them how what we are studying is relevant and useful to their lives. I think this is important, not only to get them to engage in the material, but also to show them that learning is fun. If they believe that, if they see that following their curiosity is a worthwhile activity, they will keep learning long after they leave my room. If kids don’t see a reason why to engage in the texts and assignments we give them, they usually don’t. I have found if I skip that step and rush forward into the material, I don’t get the buy-in that is so necessary for the next item on my list. Dropping the fun introductory activity you have for a new novel, for example, might seem like a great way to save time, but I’d argue that that lesson is probably the most important one.
So, the next time I feel a little stressed about the calendar, I’m going to take a deep breath and remember what really matters–getting kids excited about being life-time learners.