I’ve suggested that “taking the foot off” reduces the likelihood of student achievement and creates an achievement vacuum often filled with poor behaviour. I’ve suggested that we keep the foot down and “teach til the end”.
I’ve also suggested that we shouldn’t count down the days to the end of the school year. It, generally, cultivates a negative mindset within us about school being a place we’d rather not be. In turn, this tends to make the clock tick more slowly too.
In 2021, amidst what I’ve been discussing with other educators as a deep tired I can certainly forgive you if this seems just a little too hard this time around.
If you’re conscious that, as is the case in most schools around Australia, that there are roughly 15 days left of work to go and finding yourself ticking them off like a prisoner marking off the days of a sentence on the cell wall … I can understand it. This year.
Can I suggest just a tiny tweak on it to help you get through?
Instead of “keeping the foot down” academically, co-design a game with your students about how much we can get done together before school ends. Not only will the time tick more quickly while you play, but it reminds students that schools are places where we make progress.
And it’s this progress imperative that I contend is what matters in the time we have left in 2021. Despite an absurd national narrative about “catching kids up” that encourages us to pitch learning far beyond our students’ current capabilities, thereby welcoming shame and anxiety to the equation, let’s be the experts on what really matters in learning.
Let’s get our kids hooked, addicted even, to progress once more.
And, instead of marking off the 15 days of school you must endure, mark off the 15 days left until you are rewarded with the rest you deserve. Make that a deep rest too – the kind that soothes a truly deep tired.
Keep fighting that good fight,
PS. You’re going to need a plan for 2022 at some stage you know. I’m happy to write it with you. Come hang out with me at “Leading a Restorative School” in Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney in January. Register here. We’ve got this.
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