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Conclude: Five Minute Friday

I’m jumping on this week’s prompt from the Five Minute Friday community. This is a weekly link up where writers share thoughts on a common word.

As we conclude another semester at school I have a few thoughts:

1.Teachers are some of the most adaptable humans. Scratch that, students are the most adaptable humans. Whether students were learning from home, in a hybrid model, or fully in the classroom, Fall Semester 2020 was a challenging time to be a student. So many have proven adaptability and resilience while others have developed those skills for the first time.

2. Grades cannot be anyone’s top priority. With life looking so different I’ve had to shift my mindset from being grade and growth oriented to focusing more on the mental health and social well being of the students in my care. This has meant redesigning lessons and scrapping some lessons altogether. Building relationships has become a pillar to my classroom instruction this semester.

3. There’s no such thing as too much coffee. If I’m being honest, I’ve spent way too much money on coffee this semester. My students even joke that they have never seen me without a cup of coffee in my hands. Is this true? Yeah, okay, I’ll admit it. Do I have regrets? Nope–I survived the semester so there must be something to this teacher hack.

4. Teachers need to invest in themselves. It is so easy to devote all of our creativity and mind space to the craft of classroom instruction–especially during a pandemic when things need to adjust to fit the learning models. But so many teachers experienced massive burnout [myself included] a couple of months into the semester. Learn from my mistakes and make sure that you are taking time to be creative in other ways.

5. Comedy and music are good for the soul. This semester, whenever I could sense the weight of stress on my students I would course correct and give opportunities for students to tell jokes or give them time to work while I played uplifting music in the background. I can remember one day in particular, I was very sad about the health of someone I admired and when I shared this my students cheered me up with their own flavors of comedy.

At times this semester I have felt like I was drowning. I flailed around gasping for air. But now that I am wrapping things up on this final day of the semester I can look back and see the mistakes and victories. I am proud of the way I let the students and the pandemic shift my focus in the classroom. Community has been paramount this year and will continue to be next semester.

I am so thankful for Fall 2020. Now, it’s time to celebrate and relax for a couple of weeks.

The Ameri Brit Mom