The play is over (and what a success!), the quarter grades are filed, and I'm moving onto the next few projects (prom, speech, etc.) You'd think in this lull I would be able to find the top of my desk! I know it's under there somewhere. Let's start sorting.
Here are those articles on vocabulary development that I wanted to read, but a student who was struggling with reading his nonfiction book needed me to read to him instead. O.K. I'll put them back in the upper right-hand corner of my desk for perusal next week.
Why is this first aid kit on my desk? Oh yes, paper cut during freshmen literature. I'll just put that back on the shelf, but I know I should keep it handy.
There has to be over twenty post-it notes stuck to various parts of my desk. This one is for the possible speech topic for my senior speech student. Oh I can throw this one reminding me of the last week's haircut (which I never made it to). Here's one reminding me to call that parent about the wonderful job their sophomore is doing in speech class. Whew! I did that! I have no idea what these numbers mean, so I better keep this one. And so the sorting goes.
It seems that every teacher starts the school year with the lofty idea that he/she will keep up with the daily demands of education. I know that I planned to get those papers corrected within one to two days of the students turning them in. But then the year gets into full swing - the meetings begin, the play rehearsals take over, the students need help, and the to-do list gets longer and longer. And I feel like a failure. Why can't I get ahead? Why does my to-do list carry over from day to day, week to week? When am I going to get caught up!!! UGH!!!
I believe that's when educators need to say STOP! Take a moment, heck - take a breath - have a cup of coffee, watch a movie on Netflex, and relax. Then tackle that desk - throw away that post-it-note that you have no idea what the numbers mean, keep those vocabulary articles handy, you'll get to them (while you're standing in the hallway monitoring passing time), and remember it's not about the clean desk, it's about EVERY student EVERY DAY.
Look at what you have accomplished so far this year. You had a really good lesson on text structure in Literature 9. You connected with a student that last year wouldn't even turn in his English homework. You've had a student smile because you put a sticker on the top of his American Literature paper. You got that shy kid to speak up in class (and maybe even go out for the play.) It's been a good year so far. Enjoy it. You deserve to take a few minutes and relish where you are. You'll find the top of your desk...it might be May, but you'll find it again.
Has anyone seen my favorite pen? I bet it's on my desk...never mind.