Friday, April 17, 2015

Year 5: Week 30 – The Schedule

Wow, what a week.

It was the first week back after spring break, we had a teacher in-service day on Monday, so it was a four day week for our kids AND we were preparing for a trial week of a new schedule next week.

Coming back from spring break is always a mixture of feelings. There’s the excitement that comes from seeing the end of the year in sight. However there’s also a level of stress that comes from spring performances that once seemed way in the future that are now just around the corner. On top of that there’s grade reports and the rush of other school events that adds excitement to this whole time of year.

Throwing this new schedule trial week into the mix has really made this time of year have a “unique” energy. My own emotions about this trial week of a new schedule has included, fear, dread, excitement, frustration, annoyance, and now more than anything else optimism.

Part of this has to do with what I’m comfortable with. It’s human nature to want to stick with something that you know, even if it has problems, because at least you know the issues. There’s a rhythm to the week, I’ve gotten used and I like how my prep time is arranged. None of these reasons are really all that relevant though in the larger discussion about the schedule, because none of these things directly benefit the students.

There is no perfect schedule. It’s impossible to make something that serves every subject and grade levels needs, completely. Improvement in a schedule isn’t getting rid of all problems, but getting rid of a couple and making holistic changes that benefit the community as a whole, not necessarily and individual teacher or subject.

This is a hard thing to balance and understand especially when as teachers, we are not privy to the whole picture.  We deserve explanations from our administration about the decisions that they make, but they can’t tell us the reasons behind everything they do. This is why it’s hard to understand schedules, the reasons behind changes and the big picture. Our brain space is for our kids. The myriad of factors and limitations that drive the schedule are just too much for us to comprehend. It’s not our call or our job to balance the many different needs in the school.

Now this doesn’t mean that I’ve kept my mouth shut. As department chair it’s been on me to sort through this trial schedule week and help the administration out with solving conflicts. While this process at times has been challenging, the more I work with the administration, the more optimistic I am that the work on the schedule will benefit our school.  There is potential for harm when making big changes to a school's schedule, but with the careful and philosophically driven work put into our schedule for next week, I have no doubt that while there will be some bumps, we will learn a lot about ourselves and our school next week.

Is this new schedule week going to be a little crazy?  Yes.  Is it going to be an adventure?  You bet, but sometimes crazy adventures are the best kinds of experiences we have as educators.    

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