Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Winter Break

As a public school teacher, I should love Winter Break. I have mixed feelings about it though. On the one hand, who doesn't appreciate a week off to relax? Teaching is hard work, and it doesn't end when the students leave the building. In addition to the normal after school work of lesson planning, and the take home work of correcting papers, I also tutor students in reading for another nine hours per week. So if I can spend a few extra days sitting around reading, what can be bad?

It's like this: we returned to school on January third from Christmas Break. Two weeks later we had a long weekend to honor Martin Luther King Day. Four weeks later, it's Winter Break. Five weeks after we return to school, it will be time for Spring Break. Easter comes early this year. We have a long stretch of 10 weeks after that until the end of the year, but as the weather heats up, student thoughts turn to, "hot in here . . . got to get outside!"

With all of those breaks it gets extremely hard to build up momentum in what I'm teaching. The days leading up to the breaks get the students excited, and coming back, they have to be reintroduced into the daily routine. That first day back from a break, they all walk in quietly, as if they haven't yet woken up, and try to remember just what those words on the board mean, and who this adult person is who's talking to them at this ridiculous hour of the morning.

Combine that with the ineffective methods and dumbed down curriculum we're forced to use, it's a wonder any public school graduates can function as adults. Stay tuned to my next post for how I've managed to partially circumvent the system with an effective method for teaching students to read.

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At 4:39 PM, Blogger Abucana said...

Should we put all the "breaks" at the same time ? Ah ah.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Harry said...

Actually I was thinking of fewer breaks. American students really need more school. They are so far behind where they should be, um . . . except for my children of course, they're geniuses. Besides, I've got so many sick days saved up, I can pretty much take a break whenever I want.


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