Friday, December 12, 2008

Managing the End of the Fall Semester

Courses at NMSU end officially today, and everyone there is surely ready for the break, I'm ready for a break from the rigors of grad school. Now, it's down to 4 and a half days of teaching until the break. It can't get here soon enough.

Teachers always sit around and joke about how the last week before Christmas... er, "Winter" (must be PC), break, is a throw away week, a week of fun activities and mostly just messing around. I can tell you, from experience, that this is in fact mostly true.

There are a few reasons for this, but mainly, the kids are hyper, burned out, and looking ahead to the breaks. The teachers, well, they're also those things. I've never really been one of those teachers who does tons of decorations and plays Christmas music and stuff like that. We do have a party, we do a gift exchange, we're reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson, which, I'll admit, might not be the greatest Christmas book out there, but it's short, funny, and most of my 5th graders end up enjoying it, so I go with it.

I'm sure there are better Christmas books out there than The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, but at 80 pages, you really can't go wrong. Most of the story does take place in a protestant church, and Jesus is mentioned quite often, although mostly just as part of the story, it's not real preachy, and, like I said, it's short, we started it last Monday and will have it done by next Thursday, no problem.

So anyways, I turned my little personal post into a book review (figures). Let the last week before the break be what it is, a time to wrap things up, a time to celebrate the semester, and a time to embrace your hyper students and let them have a chance to kick back a little. It just goes with saying that school isn't all about getting every little thing out of every single second in terms of learning. You can kick back and enjoy the end of the semester, you earned it, and you're probably burned out, because that's how it works.