“Remind teachers to slow down now so they can move fast later” were the wise words of a mentor of mine Jill Reinhart as she spoke to a group of us literacy coaches during a summer retreat. Although I heard this a few years back these words are ever ringing in my mind especially as I prepared to come back after spring break.
My mind was busy with the number of weeks and days we had left, curriculum demands, grade level team initiatives, field trips, learning goals and outcomes…you name it I was thinking it. I began to get my mind and body in the busy state of hurry now and hurry later. The place where no one wins. What I had forgotten for just a moment was that very phrase that saved me in the beginning of the year, “slow down”. See slowing down meant that I could trust my knowledge and understanding of curriculum, student learning, and assessment to listen to what students need. Slowing down also meant that I could watch, document, and plan more efficiently to meet my students where they are at.
I could also help facilitate the type of classroom environment that my students would want to come to each and every day.
So, on Monday evening, the night before coming back to school after spring break I took time to plan to slow down. I spent time thinking and wondering:
What are my students thinking about, hoping about, and wondering about tonight?
What are they most looking forward to? What are they not looking forward to?
Have I met their expectations? Have they met their own expectation’s?
As I tried to think about possible answers to these questions I realized even more that going slow at the end of the year is just as important as going slow in the beginning. The moving fast part happens as we launch our students into the summer with their own high expectations of what their learning journey will look like as they take ownership of it during the summer. Our classroom community has been carefully shaped and woven by the 24 personalities that show up each day and feed and nurture it. They deserve for me to slow down and listen, slow down and watch, slow down and trust.