How much did I miss school while I was away?
Not a lot.
We are crossing the divide and rolling into what is called, in technical ed-speak, "the end of the year." That means that two things happen: We prepare the kids to take the state mandated test and the kids start getting ready for the summer. The leverage we have is based solely in the notion that we still have this Big Test to take, and the ones who are invested in their education and were invested in their education before we all went off on Spring Break are gearing up and bearing down. The ones who weren't all that excited about the Core Curriculum and its vagaries are looking 'round the bend to see how many more minutes until June. It's a magic time.
It's a time for self reflection for both students and teachers. Many of us find ourselves scratching our collective heads over what might have been. If only we would have started that first day with more rigorous and strategic curriculum. If only the kids had shown up with more basic skills. If only there was a love for learning somewhere in all this tangled mess.
There is. The love for learning is buried somewhere in the midst of all these expectations and all the letdown that occurs when you come back from a week away. Teachers and students find themselves staring at a month and a half of school that still counts on your permanent record. And so we soldier on, even though we know that the progress that has been made is pretty much the progress that will be made until the end of the year. We want to measure that progress, so if we can get those kids and teachers to stop squirming and settle down, we can head on down that home stretch. Like it mattered.