Watching the Clock

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”  Albert Einstein

This is the time of year when Virginia enforces a 4pm burn law.  It’s also the time of year when campgrounds around Virginia open for the season and people who have suffered cabin fever can finally get out and enjoy themselves, seniors begin suffering from “senior slump,” others experience “spring fever,” and a host of other things are counted down to (like the MLB opening day and the last day of school).

How much of our lives is spent counting down to something or watching the clock to end something?  Why do we count down and watch the clock?  How can we take the energy and excitement behind the next great thing we anticipate and leverage it to enjoy right now even more?

As a teacher at a non-traditional, alternative high school of choice, I got a tearjerker of a letter from a parent that accompanied by a box of to-die-for cannollis bought on a trip back home to New York City.  The letter was lost in a classroom flood, but it had a line in it I will never forget.  “Thank you for giving me back my daughter.”  The mom went on to write something like,  “We put her on the bus the first day of kindergarten and she was so excited to go to school.  Slowly, school killed the excitement.  Until now.  Every morning, it’s like putting our kindergartner on the bus again.  Only now, she is a young lady.”

Do your kindergartners look forward to Friday?  Why?  Why not?  Do they look forward to Monday when they come back to school?  Why or why not?  How can we make Friday better in anticipation of Monday? How can we keep the kindergarten excitement alive and well FOREVER?

How does your school handle the last day before a break?  Do you consider this “lost time” with respect to “instruction”? 

My school system is on Spring Break this week and I took the week off to go camping.  I will wait until 4pm to start my campfires and I will follow the opening week of baseball using the At Bat Lite app on my iPhone.  When I return to work a week from today, I will work with principals to begin registering teachers for summer workshops, I will provide the Superintendent’s cabinet an update on a major project, I will lead a meeting with our district’s professional development team, and conduct a status call with a vendor.  While I will have enjoyed my week off, I will be happy to return to work because the things I do should be done and I am pretty good at doing them.

Some kids will come back to school, happy to be met with routines and boundaries again.  Some kids will eat better because school is in session.  Some kids will make something up when asked “What did you do over Spring Break?” Some kids will play down what they did.  Some teachers will know how many days are left until the last day of school.  Some will know how many until the first day of state testing.  Some kids and teachers alike will bounce in to school with kindergartener-like excitement and some will show clearly that this excitement is long gone.

How can we take the energy and excitement behind the next great thing we anticipate and leverage it to enjoy right now even more?

2 Responses to “Watching the Clock”

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