The academic school year is eternal; summer break is not. Then again, after recently speaking to my sister, the mother of two very active boys, her summer might be eternal after all. She’s counting the weeks (five for her) until school resumes. Let’s see, how do you effectively engage children (she has two ma), ages 15 (in just a matter of a few weeks) and 10? How are they to stay mentally fit (with a teenager this is already a stretch) as well as physically? How do you meet the demands of young people wanting to eat, sleep, be chauffeured, and constantly entertained (do household chores take a summer break)?
Do I love my sister? I respond with a resounding yes! Do I care? Well…it makes me think, and I can’t help but smirk and snicker. Why? This has been the shared experience of many educators across the country. Part of the rationale behind lesson plans is to outline how you intend (Murphy’s Law, curses to you) to successfully engage your students with learning which you facilitate and evaluate regularly for positive outcomes. You naturally incorporate all of the Common Core Standards into your lessons. Shame on you if you don’t.
I love young people, I really do. Their frankness, openness and energy is often hard to capture in words, especially when all of that takes place in your classroom…daily. Some of these young people really want to do the aforementioned activities, but sometimes it occurs in your classroom; only eagle eyes and ears can capture most of the goings on of this very shrewd and extremely tech savvy group. You’re giving clarity, and really think the light is getting brighter on a particular concept. Please. That’s the light from the cellphones, as students text each other back and forth about pending lunch engagements, or various meet-ups during or after school. Here we go! Somebody forgot to put the phone on vibrate/silent, and I get to hear the ringtone from the (fill-in-the-blank) latest artist. Fortunately, I liked that tune, and hum along. I digress.
Let’s not forget the little cherubs experiencing growth spurts. Hungry, hungry, hungry. Pac-Man’s got nothing on them. Now come the aromas of Sour Patches, Doritos (they can really smell up a room, not to mention the breath), various beverages, and so forth and so on. In a music class, students are considered heretics for this behavior.
Ah, yes. Most of us successfully navigate through these diversions, and can still honestly report learning took place. We are able to get homework assignments back within a reasonable amount of time, amidst weeping and gnashing of teeth. We have accepted this as part of our calling. As for the entertaining, chauffeuring, feeding, and all that other great stuff you wonderful parents have to do for several hours in the day with the same children, turnabout is fair play. Summer break is the stuff dreams are made of.
Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
Ralph Waldo Emerson