School is offically back in session and 2019 is here. Teachers and students are getting used to the routine again as my school approaches our third day back tomorrow. It’s been quite a week already and the adjustment continues. Yesterday, my classes spent a decent amount of time discussing what happened over break and previewing what we’ll be learning about over the next few months. I taught six classes on Monday and each class took some time to debrief, briefly review the expectations/routines and lay out a plan on what needs to be accomplished before the end of January.
There’s definitely a layover impact when students (and teachers) have long breaks away from school. Students came in on Monday and were excited to see their friends, but also need time to chat about their experiences and reconnect withe the community. That time is so important. This isn’t news to any educator, but relevant – especially when students get back from a long break. Similar to the first day of school, that first day back from winter break takes on a community building component. That takes on a different form depending on the class. I’m sure this looks a bit different and the middle and high school levels. This year I had the students tell the class “one positive experience” that they had over break. I made sure to put a disclaimer out that this shouldn’t be an opportunity to brag and that they could pass if they want. It took around 10-15 minutes to hear about the experiences for each class. I was silently proud as I listened to some of the students talk about seeing relatives, reading books, going to movies, eating holiday meals, and waking up without an alarm (that was mine too) types of experiences.
I know some teachers want to dive right into content and feel as though students will acclimate accordingly. I’m minimally there when it comes to that perspective, but slowly moving outside of that zone. It’s only taken a decade or so of teaching. Haha. I appreciate having a certain amount of structure in place. There’s part of me that really wants to get back into the routine as soon as possible. State testing, curriculum guides, formal evaluations, and other factors all play a role and can limit this time to reconnect. I’m glad that I spent the extra minutes to reconnect. I won’t be able to get that time back, but students will remember it. I think it’s worthwhile to continue to share and discuss our experiences and look forward to our shared learning moving forward. I believe it’s worth considering taking a look at how teachers structure their lessons after long breaks.
Side note: One of my “experiences” over break involved organizing a site related to percent images. I’m hoping to add to the site this year and give possible prompt options.