By Kendall Vogts
I am one blessed teacher! I had a long Christmas break and was able to spend time with my family and friends, make many wonderful memories, play with my nephews and niece, and get in some much needed relaxation time. I slept in, lounged on the couch, and binge-watched a show on Netflix with my husband. It was fantastic! But, I must admit, the time leading up to Christmas break is sometimes difficult on students and teachers, as is the time refocusing, once our break is over.
Coming back from Christmas break is an adjustment. Rules and expectations must be retaught, lessons start back slowly, and interruptions from students are many, but finally we get rolling again.
All is well through January!
We hit that last week, in stride, and glide into February, but then that itch comes around again. It’s a, “Haven’t we been here for a while?” itch. Yes, by mid-February, the teachers feel it too. We see students squirm in seats. We see a growing lack of enthusiasm, and we see glazed over eyes, as our students search for the light at the end of the tunnel that comes in the form of Spring break.
It’s true… The time between Christmas and Spring Break can seem extremely long and strenuous. But while your kids might seem very “blah” about this point of the school year, remember, there is also the side of your child’s educators to consider. Let me shed some light on it for you!
In February, we are trying our hardest to engage your children! We are preparing for and carrying out parent/teacher conferences where we truly want to see you and your children show up! We are going to our students’ ball games! We are trying our best to help your students solve problems at school (because even when they don’t tell you, they are there). We are entering grades. We are staying after school in order to help our students. We are taking time to work on interventions, in order to help your children become more successful. We are greeting your children in the hall and by the door! We are laughing with, high-fiving, fist-bumping, and hugging our students as they come into or exit our classrooms. All the while, knowing that our students are slowing down; hitting the wall of boredom or anxiousness as the next break away from structure, learning, and friendship that their teachers work very hard to provide.
So why do it? As teachers, why do we constantly put ourselves out there to only sometimes be well received? Why work to help your kids make connections with the material they are learning? Why work to make every single one of our 125 students feel valued and successful?
Well, because we love what we do. We love our students. I can truly say that I love each of my students. I pray for them, and I care about their success and well-being. I have a common response that I tell everyone who asks me, “8th graders, how’s that? Aren’t they difficult?” Here it is: I love my job, and I really do have the best group of students. And even when they are jerks (because let’s face it, teenagers can be jerks sometimes) they are mine. For this school year, they are my students and I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.
So as your students slow down, hit a wall, or become very “blah” in the month of February, help their teachers by encouraging them.
Send them to school with the reminder that you love them, and so do their teachers. Tell them that you are proud of them for all they have accomplished. Send them to school with a note of encouragement, and pack an extra for their teachers!
You see your kids every day, and so do their teachers. There are two sides to the story, when it comes to school and even when it’s hard or monotonous, your child’s educator is working to help your students love and be successful at school!
Kendall Vogts lives and teaches in Central Kansas. She is married to WFM publisher Todd Vogts.