The Madness of March
March is often a rough stretch for schools. Summer is so far away, the year began so many months ago, and the bag of tricks seems to be empty. There just isn’t much for anyone to get excited about. The early spring doldrums can stretch in to the classroom, affecting students and teachers as well.
As Justin Aion writes in his post Disconnection, “When you give an assignment that allows students multiple options and the one they choose is ‘I’m not doing this,’ it makes it very hard to gather the enthusiasm to put your energy into finding a new one.” When students are not pushing themselves to do their best, or do anything, it may not be fair to shoulder the burden of their lack of effort. This is also the case for students who immediately look for help when they struggle in their work. There maybe some students who look for adults to help them out at the first sign of difficult. Elizabeth writes in her post What to do when strong students struggle that the times that “…you have to be willing to allow them to struggle. Only then can they truly own their own success.” Sometimes, the answer to teachers’ struggles with students is to allow the students to do some of that struggle for themselves.
March is certainly a time where teachers think about how to serve students better. It certainly takes a lot of work and probably a lot of different strategies in order to come up with a recipe that will produce the outcomes you want. In Culture and the Kitchen Sink, Geoff Krall was trying to synthesize a visit to a building with exceptional school culture when he noticed that there wasn’t one clear strategy that led to their success. “Then it dawns on me: none of these things produce exceptional school culture. All of these things produce exceptional school culture. It’s all of these things that are producing the culture that I just experienced, and certainly more practices that I didn’t witness.” Certainly success will involve a number of different approaches, and the support of many people, including the students and staff.
By Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)