Here in the midwest, it’s been cold. Like subzero-every-night kind of cold. We haven’t gotten the snow like New England has, but the past few days have been blustery, to say the least. What this ends up meaning is that schools close because it’s way too cold for students to walk to school, wait for the bus, or even be outside, period.
For teachers, that means that we have school off, too.
In a way.
On snow days, I usually spend a lot of time reflecting and catching up on work, or even planning ahead (if I’m in that space, which usually, I’m not. I’m typically working to get my head above water).
As I think about grading on this “cold day” (instead of snow day), I often think about balance. This is something that is hard to come by for teachers, especially for relatively new teachers. Since I am only in my second year of teaching, I am always looking for new ways to strengthen my practices.
My main focus as a professional educator is always to assure that students are learning the expected skills and content for 8th grade, and sometimes we have to do a lot of practice, or formative assessment, in order to show that.
With lots of practice, though, comes lots of paperwork.
Lots and lots of paperwork.
Which means lots of grading.
And sometimes it’s just impossible to find the aforementioned balance with so much grading to do. There have been nights when I’ve been up until nearly midnight trying to keep up with my grading in a timely manner. With 125 students, it takes me roughly an hour and a half to two hours to grade any given assignment for all of my students.
Today, however, I was able to spend part of my day off getting all of my grading done. I even chipped away at some second-year teacher documents, which are a part of Ohio’s Resident Educator program. Lately, I have fallen behind in keeping up with these forms, but I was glad to have some time today to spend working on them.
In addition to getting some work done, I met up with a fellow teacher friend and had some meaningful conversation, which always makes me feel like a better teacher. Sometimes I get so caught up in myself and what I’m doing that I forget I have support and resources out there. Even if it’s just to listen to me talk about school in general. It is nice to have friends with similar experiences, but also much more experience, who can help me reflect on my own teaching practices.
Sometimes I want to do so much more – write more, read more, and be a better teacher overall – but I have to realize that sometimes I need to take things one step at a time. I can’t be a master teacher in year two, and I need to let myself have room to make mistakes. It’s a natural part of teaching (and life), but as long as I feel like I am growing and learning from my mistakes, I think I’ll be okay.
Until next time,
Written Friday, February 20, 2015