May has a bad rap. May isn’t that bad. In fact, I kinda like the month of May.
Ok…ok…May is the month of frustrated teachers and students who are over it. There are a zillion events, not enough time, nice weather and wild students. The final countdown is on and everyone is madly dashing to the finish line…BUT… for me, May is the sweet spot, and I’d love to share my perspective to maybe to help you enjoy your May a bit more.
All year long we’ve been working off our tails to load our little darlings up with Comprehensible Input! Now we get to see the fruits of our labor! We get to marvel at how much they’ve acquired and how far they’ve come since we first met them in August. We get to giggle with them as they revisit their very first free write and tell them how proud we are of how much Spanish they can write now! By May I can give them all their instructions in Spanish and they can understand it and know what to do! Now we can just chit chat in Spanish and have a jolly good time. That’s so much tougher at the beginning of the year when you’re limited to cognates and like 4 words in Spanish!
At the beginning of the year we work so hard! Especially in Spanish 1, they need us for everything! Since my job is providing the CI, I’m basically “on stage” all first semester…they’re language babies and they can’t do anything independently! And that’s exhausting. But now they can read independently! Now we have 15 glorious minutes of Free Reading every single class. It feels so good to sit back, enjoy the silence and read with them. That doesn’t happen 1st semester and I want to enjoy every minute of it since I worked so hard for it!
And now they know what I expect of them. At the beginning of the year, I had to train them to do what I wanted them to do…I let nothing slide! If they didn’t stack their chairs properly at the end of the day, or if they were not engaged during the discussion or if they screwed around during Baile Viernes, I stopped and retaught my expectations. ALL 1ST SEMESTER WAS RETEACHING AND RETEACHING AND RETEACHING BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS and it’s finally paid off! Like 99.999% of my kiddos now are in line and it makes teaching them so much fun. Trust me, the year didn’t start out like this, but now I’m loving it and want to savor it! Because the thought of starting over with 180 new students who have to be taught how to behave sounds exhausting!
And things run so much more smoothly in May! Not only behavior, but classroom jobs are dialed in now and we’re a well-oiled machine. The kids do attendance before I even realize it. The phone rings and a student handles it. When a visitor enters, a student springs out of their chair to greet them. Someone erases the board at the end of every class without me even mentioning it. By May, they’ve got it down and I’m free to keep the CI flowing, which is much more fun than taking attendance and answering the phone!
And May’s the time when we get to reflect on what worked well and what we want to change for next year. What other professionals get to start over fresh every year?! We’re so lucky and I love that in May I have a running list of “Changes for Next Year”…I love the freedom and flexibility and optimism that we have to make next year even better than this year! So…maybe your classroom management needs to be tightened up next year- You get to decide the changes that will help you! Maybe you want to drop homework to make like easier for you! Add it to your list! Maybe you want to incorporate Free Reading or Classroom Jobs or take the plunge to go all CI…now is the time to be thinking about the changes you want to make for next year.
And the best part of May: we really know our kiddos. All year I’ve been listening to them and trying to connect with them and making class jokes with them and laughing with them. And by May I really love my kiddos and it makes me sad to think about saying goodbye to them. I always wonder if my heart is big enough to love 180 new kiddos next year. I want to hang on to them (well, most of them, anyway 🙂 for as long as I can!
So, when all the teachers are bellyaching in the teachers’ lounge about how rotten their students are or how there are 4,652 school minutes left until Summer Vacation…remember that that May isn’t all bad! Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as excited for summer vacation as the next guy…I just don’t want to miss out on all the blessings of the last couple of weeks with my little darlings!
Wishing you a happy end of the school year and a relaxing (or exciting) summer break! (Which ever you prefer! This summer I’m going for exciting 🙂