Guest blogger and Rourke author, Colleen Hord, shares the struggles a new school year brings for students and staff. How can you get your students “back into the swing of things?” Colleen explains the importance of keeping a schedule and reading in the summer months.
Each new school year brings with it the excitement of the first day. By the end of the first day however, my excitement seems to wane along with my energy level. By the time I arrive home I’m too exhausted to think about cooking, my feet are killing me, and I am asleep on the couch by eight o’clock. What happened? I didn’t have enough stamina to get me through the day.
My summer schedule is much less demanding than the rigorous pace and routine I’m in when school is in session. Beach walks, book reading in the hammock, late nights and lazy mornings don’t do much for building stamina. Just like an athlete out of training, I was out of shape for the demands of a full day of teaching.
So what about our students and their stamina? If we, as adults, need to build up our stamina each year, it only stands to reason how much more so for our students. Many students don’t even pick up a book over the summer much less sit for any length of time. Our students need to be given opportunities to get back into shape and rebuild their stamina for the demands of their school day.
Teaching stamina has to be done in increments. Athletes don’t reach their best performance all at once. They set and reset goals as they work toward their target. Students need to be given the same opportunity for building their stamina whether it is in reading, or staying on the page in writing. Spending as much time on teaching stamina as we do other concepts is critical for successful learning.
Stamina is sometimes overlooked as a building block for successful learning. With all that is being asked of our students, teaching them to remain focused and engaged is critical. Stamina is also needed when tasks are difficult. When our students have enough stamina to keep working on something even when it doesn’t come easy, we have given them a skill that will serve them not only in the classroom, but for life.
Next summer, I think I will give myself a couple of weeks to get in shape before that first day of school. Perhaps I’ll start by going to bed at a decent hour and getting up with the 6 o’clock alarm. Maybe, just maybe, if I start getting in shape before school starts, I’ll have enough energy to go out for dinner and celebrate a successful first day.