When I started this blog nearly 11 months ago, I was posting two, sometimes three times a week.
This is my first post in 32 days.
Why the drop-off? I suppose part of it is the fact that this blog was largely meant to chronicle all the “firsts” of Research Triangle High School, and we’ve gotten most of those out of the way. It was also a place for me to reflect on the ins and outs of returning to teaching in a new, revolutionary model to which I wasn’t accustomed, and I’ve reflected on that a’plenty. But I can account for my absence from this space with an excuse that teachers everywhere could probably understand: it was March.
In the fall semester, most months have some long weekends easily built in. September has Labor Day, October has the end of the first grading period which usually brings a three- or four-day weekend, November has Veterans’ Day AND Thanksgiving, and of course December brings winter break. The beginning of the spring semester isn’t too bad, either, with Martin Luther King Day in January and Presidents’ Day in February.
But mid-February to spring break in early April? It’s a freakin’ desert. For years, I’ve called it “the slog.” There are no vacations (we did have one teacher workday in March), the year is over halfway done but there’s really no end in sight, and the weather’s getting nicer and no one wants to be stuck in a classroom as a result. At school, we saw all the symptoms of “the slog” that I saw at Robinson year in and year out: more behavior problems from students, general crankiness all around, and overwhelming fatigue on the part of the faculty.
Spring break has given me a much-needed chance to re-charge my batteries. I’m having to do some work – I’ll make some flipped videos, and I’ve had to put the finishing touches on paying Uncle Sam’s greedy ass ahead of next week’s tax deadline. But I also get to kick back a little. I’ve slept in every day, I’ve had a chance to do some spring cleaning at home – a chore, but a cathartic one nonetheless – and I’m finally reading The Grapes of Wrath after staring at it on my bookshelf for about two years. I had lunch with a great high school friend this afternoon and heard all about her getting ready for her first child to be born next month. And last but not least, I get to do some writing here.
Based on previous experiences, the students will return to school next Tuesday a little re-charged too (and probably tanned). With 35 school days before final exams start, there’s now light at the end of the tunnel, and most of them will want to buckle down and end the year on a good note. And when Memorial Day rolls around and gives them their first holiday in nearly two months, they’ll have pretty much made it to the end.
Hopefully the faculty makes it with sanity intact, too.