As a student and in my first few years as a teacher, I’d only ever experienced a traditional school calendar – starting school in late summer, a couple weeks off for the holidays, Spring Break, and a delightfully long summer vacation.
My current school, however, operates on a year-round calendar, which is AWESOME. It breaks the school year into tidy little chunks of nine weeks, separated by glorious two week breaks in fall, winter, and spring (we get a six-ish week summer vacation). Just when I’m about to fall over from exhaustion, a break seems to magically appear. Having TWO weeks allows for a nice blend of R&R, plus a little time for playing catch-up or getting ahead (I lie. Getting ahead is not my reality, but seems like a nice idea!)
Now that I’ve experienced a few years of the year-round lifestyle, I’ve picked up on the distinct personalities of each quarter. For example, right now it’s third quarter, which is best summed up here:
This is the time of year when academically, things are FINALLY starting to click. We spiral our math curriculum, and now that we’re on the third or fourth pass on a topic, the light bulbs are going off. In third quarter, I’ve been known to throw my hands up in the air during lessons, do a few touchdown dances, and even look forward to grading assessments. All the hard work is paying off!
Lest you think third quarter is all sunshine and rainbows, this is also the time of year when things seem to go off the rails behaviorally. Full moon? Spring fever? Teacher fatigue? Whatever it is, there are more than a few days between January and March that make my head spin and I wonder if I’ve somehow time-traveled back to the first few weeks of school. Soooo….off we go to review rules, routines, and expectations. Again. And again. And again.
There is hope, though! Just when it feels like I can’t bear to give another redirection, send another email, or plan another lesson, something wonderful happens!
Bring it on, quarter four!