How To Get Through The Mid-Year Grind

The honeymoon is over.  Six weeks into the school year and the novelty of "being back in school" has worn off.  The grind is on.

The Late Fall and Winter school season is the make it or break it point.  Most teachers (and students) settle into self-sustainment and mediocrity.  They weather the storm that is November through March by looking forward to the promised breaks.

This mood doesn't need articulation, you can observe it in the body language of those that surround you.  They come to work a little later, leave a little earlier.  They flip through a phone rather than complete their daily reflection.  Dress down Friday becomes dress down Wednesday-Friday and as dress down Friday becomes wear sweat pants to school day.

As appalling as it sounds, this is the mid-year grind, and it is all to easy to fall into this vacuous trap.  We can all picture teachers that embody this idea.

This is no way to teach.  I'm terrified that as I age and become more a veteran teacher, I'll slip into just "putting up with it."  I'm so scared in fact, that I consciously make a decision to re-motivate myself at the start of November each year; a fantastic piece of advice from my fantastic mentor.

Last year, I read a series of autobiographies describing people with an unquenchable work ethic (John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs).  It worked and I powered through Winter and blossomed into Spring unscathed and teaching with a purpose.

This year, my motivation came a bit earlier, but none the less I am embracing it.  A small passage from my favorite book caught my attention and immediately refueled my tanks.  The purpose of this article is to do two things.  First, convince you that NOW is the time to rev your engine (as I hopefully did above) and second, to share my motivational passage.

Advice To Leaders On Who To Hire And To Teachers On How To Get Hired

In our quest to find educators with the "get it" factor, we find ourselves at the start of the process: hiring a potential rockstar.  Today's discussion deals less with what the applicant offers, and more with your mindset, as a leader, sitting across the table from them.

We aso discuss the characteristics of how to "get it" if you are a new or beginning teacher.  This article will show you how to feel confident sitting across the table from the suits.

When Best Practices Become Too Much Of A Good Thing

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Much of my inspiration is drawn from conversations held with other educators.  It seems that talking with other teachers, along with writing, helps me organize my many thoughts concerning education.

This discussion starts as many others: a quote from a meeting during a conference dedicated to sharing unique classroom best practices.

(I shared how writing proves to be not only therapeutic, but also as a development tool to improve professionally)

My colleague began:

"So there is this book by Daniel Pink, its called Drive.  In it he describes the necessary factors to encourage and promote productivity.  One of the factors is autonomy.  When given freedom, employees and subordinates are more productive.  Just look at GOOGLE!" 

(Drive is a resource worth your time)

He continued:

"So I've reflected on how this autonomy idea can be incorporated into my classroom, and from the start of school, I've given more freedom to my students.  I give them a list of activities for each topic and they choose which activities to do and when to do them.  I let them choose their cooperative groups and their homework.  I even let them choose when their work is due."

"Really, wow.  That seems exciting.  I'm assuming it is going well if you're sharing it?"  my supervisor probed. 

"Well, no.  My classroom is an absolute train-wreck" the educator replied in a somber voice.

"It seems that too much of a good thing can be bad..."

This article is about finding the balance between using a best practice and using it too much.