Sonya Barnes June 3, 2019
Some days I think I am a unicorn. No, not the mythical horse with a horn sprouting from its head, but a rare and possibly mythical person in society, for sure. I am that person that does my best to be consistent in effort and expectation each and every workday, not just for me, but also for the people around me. And, from what I have seen, heard and observed throughout my working years, I am an anomaly.
You know what I am talking about.
It’s Monday, I have a weekend hangover. I can’t today today.
OK, Tuesday, time to get focused and work!
It’s Wednesday/hump day!
Thursday! It’s Friday Eve, the weekend can’t get here soon enough!
Fri-YAY! It’s the weekend, what are your plans?
And right before or after a holiday, it seems to be magnified.
In Education, we see similar behaviors throughout the school year—and I’m not even talking about the kids. The first week back we are dragging after having more flexibility in our summer schedule as well as the dreaded list of things to do we set for ourselves, along with the list from the school, then pulling long days to get ready in time for the first day. The first week of kids can be tough trying to cover all the things and be rock solid and execute those overly ambitious ideas we’ve had for years and THIS IS THE YEAR IT WILL HAPPEN, especially when they are still shifting from summer mode. Then, we get to our first holiday (for my district, its about 2-3 weeks into the school year) and the day before or after there’s a shift into easy mode. This can also happen on Early Release days, something we have in our district, that has become such a widespread “down” day, that many kids don’t even bother to come to school. With several holiday breaks and early release days throughout the year, the cycle perpetuates. By the time we get to the last few weeks of the school year, we may be feeling that burn out–policies and rules aren’t being upheld consistently across the school, or at all, and there can be a total breakdown with students that think they don’t have to do things we’ve expected them to do all year. Yet, ironically, this is also the time of year that many teachers and leaders begin talking about the policies and procedures they are going to start with at the beginning of the year.
People, people, people. First, let’s talk about the kids. They need consistency at school all the time because many of them don’t have it at home. Not to mention that we should just set a good example of work ethics. They are in their formative years and we help define what that really means by expectation and example. Next—and this is a big one for me—it may be their last day of school, but it’s probably not yours. The world isn’t ending and you are probably not retiring, so why would you risk your career, all of your hard work throughout the year, or worse, the perception of your work ethic as teachers are being considered for new positions or eliminated positions.
They need you to be consistent. You need you to be consistent for your own peace of mind. I won’t bore you with tons of research points on how consistency is better for your health, career, etc., because you probably already know that you work better when you are consistent and have a rhythm from following your routine. At least, I know that I do and most of the people around me do, as well.
So, make your daily routine lists, your weekly/monthly routine lists, plug those bad boys in your calendar or on a corner of your desk and get it done. You’ll be glad you did. I promise, you will feel better sticking with a routine because it becomes automatic, which helps on those days you may not be piquing. If you are truly dragging or having an off day, have a pal to boost you up or follow the “fake it ‘til you make it” mantra and act like you have got it together, at least in front of everyone. Your kids will be better with routine, which means you will do less behavior interventions, and you will be able to make those last days more meaningful. And that will make your break more relaxing for you, as well.
Make every day count for something by being the best version of you that you can be.