A couple weeks ago I posted a status update to Facebook simply saying: "Is there light at the end of this tunnel?" I felt like I was drowning and overwhelmed with work. But fast forward to today and I'm happy to report that I actually think I finally see the light again!
It's amazing how much can change in 24 hrs. Yesterday afternoon at this time my stress level was still pretty high. There were grades to still finalize, an observation to prepare for, and countless other things on my to do list. And while my to do list is still plenty long, just having the pressure of grades & observations over for awhile has drastically improved things.
The lesson I was worried about ended up going pretty well. My kids were relatively focused (for 7th period) and most seemed to be paying attention, and to be honest, I think it was one of the best reading workshop days we've had in a long time. It was definitely the first time this year when I felt like almost everything finally clicked. I left feeling like knowledge (or at least a new realization of how they read) had been gained by my students during our lesson and even more positive, it was a day when there was still plenty of time left to read and therefore I was able to get around and conference with quite a number of them as well.
Of course, in the back of my head I wonder how much the admin's presence changed the atmosphere. I guess tomorrow will be the test. It will go back to being a normal day (e.g. no visitors sitting watching), and I'll then be able to figure out for sure whether the key is having an observer present OR whether perhaps with the beginning of the new quarter this week, we've finally turned a corner. I'm certainly keeping my fingers crossed that it is the later!
In their first quarter self-evaluations, one of the things my kids (all 4 periods of them) most frequently told me was that they wanted more independent time to read and write. I've got a goal set for myself this quarter to attempt to give it to them. Maybe it's just the simple action of listening to my kids that's had this week flowing smoother than what the past few weeks have been like. I did have one student in my 6th period come up to me today and thank me for giving everyone more time the past couple days. He added, "we like it better". I had to admit to him, "You know what, so do I!"
I'm sure there will be more days ahead this year when the tunnel seems pitch black, without an end in sight, but right now I'm glad there's a glimmer of light ahead and, for at least the time being, I'm going to continue on this path and just hope the light only continues to grow stronger! :)