Are you frantically grading exams or filling out endless end of year reports?
I got a call this morning from a high school teacher who just needed to vent about these frustrations that seem to show up every year. Interruptions during exams, teachers who seem to have nothing to do while you don’t have a spare minute.
After listening until she took a deep breath, I gently said, “Just for some perspective, think of the destroyed school building in Oklahoma. Children died in their buildings yesterday. Teachers threw themselves on top of students to protect them from the storm that ate up those neighborhoods.”
Her response? “Thanks. I needed to hear that.”
My heart has been torn thinking of the terror that children and staff felt yesterday. Then I heard the children tell their stories. Such trauma and fear! We don’t want our children to suffer like this. We work to spare them from such trauma, but I think remember all the times we spent preparing students with drills for fire, tornado, a shooter. We sat in the halls when the warning sirens alerted the city of a possible tornado. Tornadoes are no stranger to Middle Tennessee.
Not many weeks ago I posted a link to an article that encourages teachers to prepare for these events — document the materials in your classroom. Think of those teachers whose buildings were destroyed. There is nothing left. Thankfully the school year is almost over, but no doubt some teachers have a double trauma if they live in the neighborhoods near their school. Their homes may be gone. A family member may be injured. School materials may not be a priority just now.
If you missed that link, here it is: “What I Wish I’d Known Before My School Burned Down”
Do you need some end of the year activities? For schools around me, this is the last week of school, but many other systems have more weeks to do. This link for Responsive Classroom has some great ideas for all grade levels: Last Week of School. They also have some Pinterest Boards with more ideas. They always have good stuff.
Here is my favorite activity for my 8th graders during the last week of school (or before). I gave them this topic for an essay:
Imagine that you have a child of your own who will be entering the 8th grade soon. What advice would you give them?
These were some of the best essays that my students wrote all year! I was always amazed at their insight and honesty.
Hope you find some ideas to keep your students motivated during the last crazy days.
Giving thanks today for:
- teachers with courage who put themselves in danger to save their children
- first responders who work long hours in difficult places to find one soul still alive
- administrators who take care of their staff with encouragement, support,and wisdom
- patience with students whose brain checked out two weeks ago
- staff members who have patience with one another
- custodians who quietly and patiently clean up, haul away, and seldom complain about the mess
- just a few more days to go