I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for any basketball game: men, women, college, high school, jr. high, you name it I’ll watch it. Heck, I’ve been known to watch 5th and 6th grade basketball games, without my own kids playing in them. Sad, it’s a addiction, and yes, I need help. This is why March is a basketball junkie’s favorite time of the year. It’s Championship Week, Selection Sunday, the Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, and One Shining Moment all in one month.
I’ve felt like this with my class lately. We’ve pushed and pulled and celebrated and set goals for out testing. We’ve talked about rewards, we’ve had “brain food”, we’ve set up places for many of my students to go during that time. Then what? It’s almost this dramatic let down, but yet it isn’t, because next is our RtI time, then time for our PLN, remember your Common Core standards, oh and you can’t forget about our last MAP testing period. It seems like we are on this endless treadmill of “oh you have to be up for this event” and never get off it. There’s never that chance to simply breath, reflect, learn, and move on. It’s as though we’ve taken all that wonderful hype of March Madness and turned it into an all year adrenaline rush of testing, scores, and goal sheets.
I’ll be the first to admit, we need to know how our students are doing, period. But yet, in the process, that idea of teaching for the joy of teaching has been replaced with, what are we going to get to next. The teachable moment has been replaced with what standard does this cover. We had a teachable moment yesterday talking through a geography assignment, when we talked about the Black Hills and Mt. Rushmore. By the time we were done, it was almost time to go, and I felt almost guilty about sharing our experiences there. Was it related to the curriculum, probably not? Was it something the kids were interested in? Absolutely, because several of my families are planning vacations out in that direction.
I’ll be up late next Thursday and Friday night watching basketball. Sadly, I’ll probably have a notebook with me and will copy down a play or two that will go into my file of stuff that I could use later on. However, after that championship game, I can take a bit of a break from that rush to reevaluate my coaching, tweek a thing or two, and move on. I’m not always sure that with teaching we get that opportunity to do so. People will read this and say “well, you only work nine months, what do you do in your time off?” Sadly, I’ll have my notebook out in class, bettering myself for next year, reading curriculum, or maybe even weeding a garden! But sometimes, we simply need that break, to retool, refresh, and find ourselves again. I’m hopeful that happens for all of us, but not always sure it does anymore. It’s March Madness, but all year round, and that’s not healthy in the life of an educator.