It’s the first day of spring.
Here, in Connecticut, it’s hard to tell by looking outside. Piles of dingy snow still linger along curbs and in the shadier corners of yards. It was a brisk 20-something this morning, and although it’s staying light longer, there’s nothing inviting me outdoors, yet.
I do so look forward to the days when the sunshine on my shoulders will be warm and the temperature high enough to sit still without shivering.
But the flip of the calendar to spring is harbinger of another shift at school.
From here to the end of the year…even though that end keeps receding further into summer…there are no more pauses. It will be like Indiana Jones’ boulder racing inexorably to the last day. This year it may be more like a giant snowball gaining size and speed as it careens downhill toward late-June.
And so today I did something a little risky. It has a way of taking my breath away. I picked my head up and looked to the horizon.
Many days we just keep our chins down, eyes on the line to our fingertips, focused on one stroke, one race at a time. But when we’re swimming in open water, every so often we have to lift our eyes to the horizon to be sure we’re staying on course, tracking to our destination. We may miss a breath or lose the rhythm of our strokes, but it’s imperative to check our heading.
That’s what I did today. Tomorrow is likely to be (another) snow day. Yesterday I was out of the building to write curriculum. I needed to figure out where I am and where I’m going. Under water everything is calm and smooth. When I lifted my head I nearly choked on the chop of the waves. The sun, although still cold, blinded me for a moment.
We’ve all been craving a return to a “normal” schedule, but here’s the thing: from here to the end there is no such thing as normal.
Next week holds both a professional learning day and a day of curriculum writing in addition to the start of the new intervention cycle. Not to mention, I really should check in on the newest teachers. Oh-there’s an author visit! That’s good. Not to mention family in town for Passover. The week after that I’ll be hosting two full day labsites and attending two others in district. Friday might be normal. The following week holds three days of kindergarten registration and screening when we meet our soon-to-be-kindergarten friends. It will be both delightful and exhausting…those kindergarten teachers truly are amazing.
Phew. Then April vacation…unless it isn’t.
The schedule hasn’t been officially announced, but sources indicate that Monday when we return from break will be the first day of the high stakes SBAC assessments for our 5th graders. And from there assessment season is open. By the end of May every reader in the building will have been measured…Wait. Do you know when Field Day is? Oh, by the way, there are 6 more reading and writing units we need to write or revise…just for grades 4 and 5…
There’s more, but frankly, after that glimpse I ducked my head back under water and started pulling with all my might for the shore.
May you glimpse the horizon, spot the shoals and the glorious sunset views. Then may you catch your breath and focus on only what is next in front of you.