A day at school often feels like a race in which I never reach the finish line. I rush before school to make sure I have all I need, papers copied, lunch choices ready, today’s schedule displayed on the board, etc. On mornings that I start the day with a meeting before the kids come, forget it. I never catch my breath.
Factor in what I have to accomplish long term and I want to throw my hands up—wave the white flag of surrender. Nine months of curriculum needs to be taught in five months so that the children are prepared to take “the test”. Sigh.
I took a deep breath this year and made myself take a step back. I realized in order to finish the race, that I needed to set my own pace. After evaluating what was most important, I decided on things that should take priority each day. Here is my list:
-My children need to read a book of their choice every day.
-My children need to write every day.
-My children need to hear me read every day. (Read Aloud time)
-Spiral Review of math skills and grammar-each take about fifteen minutes.
My reasons for the list? I want the children to develop a love of reading. I want them to stretch their imaginations while writing and gain knowledge of the writing format at the same time.
In math we review skills previously taught and always apply them with problem solving. We go over every answer together and the thinking process behind it. I want them to learn how to think through the problems in order to solve them.
These are my priorities each day. Beyond that, I plan my lessons according to the curriculum map. However, I don’t sweat it if I’m not exactly where I should be. I know my priorities and I set my own pace. I refuse to be driven by a test. Once I made this decision, I felt more relaxed and better able to focus on my children. After all, they are the reason I’m there.