Parent, students, and especially teachers (except those who teach summer school) can appreciate the classic Alice Cooper song, “School’s Out for Summer.” Most teachers are reflecting now on what worked in their classroom, and to what degree; they are also reflecting what could have gone better, and to what degree. This is an ongoing reflective process, but it’s summer time, and since there are no bells ringing (other than in your head, perhaps), you can slow the process down a bit, and really dig in. You are for certain you saw more enlightened faces this year than blank stares. Why?
- Students came in much more academically savvy than in days of yore (you know, last year), and actually got into the mode of learning.
- Parents became more involved, and worked with you and the administration to ensure their child was prepared and did homework assignments that reflected concepts you thoughtfully prepared to bolster.
- Your administrator and co-laborers in your school put together effective staff development from someone who was actually successful in their own classrooms before passing on teaching strategies from the children of Lake Wobegone School District.
- You and your colleagues were threatened with your jobs (and subsequent career) if your students did not make their AYP (ask any educator if you don’t know what this means; I can assure you we know).
- You heeded said threats and students made said AYP; they improved methodically and miraculously.
- The enlightened face you saw was actually your own, now that you have stopped seeing double from 10 months of incessant, repetitive directives, pleas, phone calls, and conferences.
- As the light continues to shine on your face in awe, you realize that though you will continue work toward improving the intellectual and academic ability of your students, you are not going to stress over it. This is part of the purpose of summer vacation.
If when you started, your hair color was…(fill in the hue), and now you get assistance from Revlon, Clairol, L’Oreal, or some hue that only your stylist knows about,you know some things. You know that this summer you are finally going to clean out your closet of things you haven’t worn in awhile (some with tags still hanging on them). You know that this summer you are going to really throw out those five extra copies of learning strategy handouts (they might have worked, but when did you have time to fully implement them?) from your home office. You know that this summer you’ll hear your name called only once, respond, and like it. You also know that this summer during your cleaning expeditions, vacation, or other activity, that you will more than likely come across something you can use in the classroom next year. So much for cleaning out that old pile…you’re starting a new one.
All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.
Kimberly F. Carlos, Ed.D