I am about to reveal something that you likely didn’t know was a source of irritation for me, a “pet peeve”, if you will. We all have those, don’t we? I am no different! I would like to share that one of my biggest pet peeves is the public and grand “countdowns/days left” displays and discussions that inevitably occur at the end of the year or near any break.
Why? The biggest reason is the children. In this day and age, our children’s summers will not match the summer you have planned for yourself and your family. Many of our children will be engaged in day care and camps, but it just is not the same as what you have provided for 180 days at school. The message the countdown sends to kids is often a source of anxiety for a multitude of reasons. They are anxious about what the structure of their day will be; you have provided a regimented and predictable day for them for 180 days. Many of our children will spend their summer days craving the attention that you have given them over the 180 days that you were together as a class. Children like that consistency and knowing what is next; many of their summer days are spent without any structure, challenge, or real engagement with an adult. You have filled their days at McCall with love, happiness, security and rich experiences that likely will not be matched day for day in their summer days.
Second, children get the message that this is over—you are done and ready to go home. It isn’t over, we still have 16 days left to fill with math, reading and science and social studies. They begin to make bad choices because everyone is “ready for vacation”. When we maximize that time for them and plan great lessons all the way to the end, you don’t wear yourselves out because you are managing behavior issues due to unengaged, unfocused children. I came across the attached blog post last night from one of my peers in the tech world and friend from twitter, Amber Teamann. Her post is what inspired me to share how I feel about the countdown. She has a similar view, but wrote a GREAT post on a list to challenge you (and her staff) to complete the last 16 days. I am not saying not to be joyful over your summer and the plans you have, but try to not to be so public about it to the kiddos here at the end.
Make these last days amazing memory makers for the children and plan great lessons. The kids will LOVE you for it and you will have an end of the year to remember instead of dread, I guarantee it!
Here is the link to my friend Amber’s post which inspired my thoughts in this post:technicallyteamann.com/what-can-you-d…
As a 2015 update to one of my favorite posts, here is a great blog with an important message to our being present with our kids: