Post Spring Break = Time to Try New Things

Spring Break is a great time to refresh and to get ready for the final part of the school year.  It can also be the time you use to prepare to try something new in the classroom.  I did my first trial of a flipped classroom after spring break, using the time before and during the break to prepare my materials and to practice in order to be ready to try something new.

Many teachers will say that they are too busy during the school year to try too many new things, and I would agree that you have to be careful about throwing in too many new things and not having them work, disrupting learning for too long.  There is a difference though between being careful and being scared or too unsure about trying something new.

Our job as educators is to be constantly trying to improve as there is no perfect way to teach so we must be always trying to find ways just to get better.  If a teacher thinks they do not have to improve anymore, then they should be ready to retire or find a new line of work.  Our students deserve nothing but the best from us and that means that we have to always keep working on getting better.  Teaching is not for everyone, if you just want a 9-5 job that you can forget about when you leave work then you definitely should not be a teacher.

Spring Break also allows for new things to be tried in the classroom as students tend to come back rested and ready to try new things.  Throwing something drastically different at them during the middle of a week when they have tests and projects due can cause a big issue with some students so using the time coming back from a break is the perfect time to try something new.  It is kind of like when I would never change seating charts before a test, the students were so used to sitting where they were that changing that before a test could actually affect the stress level of some students.

The time after Spring Break is also great for trying new things as you can use the summer to improve them or scrap them for the coming school year.  I spent a considerable amount of time that summer after I tried flipping my 9th grade Earth Science class to do more research on standards based grading and mastery style learning.  I worked on trying to develop better standards and modified some of the procedures I had tried before the school year ended.  This was also great time to connect with others to share what had worked and what we still had to work on.  If I had waited till the Fall to try something new and it did not work perfectly, I am sure that I would have been more inclined to dump that idea and move onto something new.  Instead I had time over the summer to fine tune it and make it better for the Fall.

The best thing to do is to start thinking of that change that you can make after break now, starting figure out what you want to change that relates to student learning in your classroom.  Start looking up things you can do or try, identify those weak spots in your classroom or any area that you want to improve.  Use some time over break to make sure you are ready to try it out when students return.  BUT, make sure you do take a little time over break to relax.  Just as it is important that students are ready after break to finish the year, teachers need to be recharged and ready for what may come.

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