The three-part marathon:
Breaking down the educational year
by Judianne Jayme
I began this year by advising you to hit the ground running. We have now officially ended our first leg of the educational marathon, settling nicely into the relatively “calm” part of the year. These are the weeks when teachers can teach generally uninterrupted. By now, programs are set, routines are in place, and the students are settling back into the swing of things.
The biggest challenge of this middle part of the educational marathon is setting the pace. We are now recharged from the winter break, and we have a good three months before the spring break. It’s easy to overwork students (and staff!) and having them burn out before the end of the year. Establishing a steady pace for these three months is critical to ensuring that we finish the marathon strong all the way until June.
It’s almost too easy to want to run when we truly should be enjoying the gift that is the ability to recharge our batteries and stretch before the final leg and the finish line. These are the months where I begin to teach my students about responsibility and accountability – a short break is not an excuse to magically “forget” the rules and expectations set prior to the break. It’s also an opportunity to do a quick review of what we’ve done, set our goals for this mid-year term, and continue growing as learners.
Parent tip: Pace yourselves
Just as your child is getting back into the routines of school, take the time to also remind them of the expectations at home. Perhaps the winter break allowed for later bed times and/or more screen time. Perhaps there was even a shift in dietary habits with all the holiday parties and celebrations.
Ease them back into routines – have them begin reading on a nightly basis again and have that quality discussion with them about what they have read and what connections they are making to that text. Remind them of the chores that are expected to be done. Reaffirm that there is a limit to the amount of screen time.
All these measures will aid in your child’s overall educational experience – when home adjustments actually mirror classroom adjustments. This consistency will help to make the transition back into school less of a struggle or shock for your child after a two-week hiatus.
Stretch those muscles, take a deep breath, and lace up your shoes. It’s time to set the pace for this mid-marathon section of our educational journey!
Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade and a division-wide mentor in the Winnipeg School Division.