The Challenge of April

April is a wonderfully challenging time in the classroom. As the days get longer and the air begins to warm, the end of the year suddenly begins to feel like a reality. And while the students are counting the days until Summer with eagerness, I find myself counting them with a sense of dread. How can I possibly complete all that I set out to do with these students in the few days and weeks that are left? In September, it felt like a lifetime that we would spend together, growing and questioning. There was space for endless possibilities. I searched all of my resources for new ways of connecting the students to their learning, testing and developing what I found to match it with the needs in the classroom. Twitter and now Pinterest were endless sources of inspiration and encouragement. 

But then comes April with its ticking clock of minutes left to accomplish all that I had dreamed. While I know at the beginning of each year that I wouldn’t really solve all of the problems of each student, I never cease to reach for it. Every good teacher that I know does. We are idealists, always striving to open doors or simply windows for our students. If one strategy doesn’t work, we try another. We talk to colleagues and share ideas. April, however, shines a light on the ways where we didn’t have success, bringing into focus the ones for whom our best efforts simply haven’t been enough.

One of the challenges of April is to not give up, to not simply pass over them because we have already tried our best and it didn’t work. They are still struggling in spite of our efforts. It is a critically important time of year for continuing to give hope to the ones who continue to fail. Our message can’t be one of frustration, but of encouragement. We have to keep trying, even when our Bag of Tricks is empty. Each student needs to feel seen and heard. She needs to know that I want her success as much now as I ever did, in spite of the barriers and distractions that she puts up. Students sense our faith in them or our frustrations with them. April, when we are tired and can become discouraged ourselves, is a time to remember our highest ideals for each student and avoid allowing the looming End of the Year to let ourselves off the hook. We must still give our best and challenge them to give their best.

It is a tremendous challenge, because April and May hold so many demands and distractions. There are always special events and unexpected changes in schedule, which disrupt the flow of energy towards the work at hand. They are usually wonderful events, but the impact has to be taken into account. The students often need to be encouraged to refocus on their work, which in itself can take time and energy. Then there is always a mountain of work to be assessed and reflected upon before the final comments of the year. All taking place while there are bright sunny days and warm air, pulling all of us, both students and teachers, away from focus and work. 

So on we go! May your April and May be full of hope and joy in learning! 



3 responses to “The Challenge of April

  1. I’m in agreement one hundred percent. It is always hard to focus on work when the outside is so attractive this time of the year, Just a simple glance out the window can lead to a huge amount of day dreaming. I can relate with all the activities going on at the end of the year. I remember in high school it seemed April and May full of events pulling us away from class.

  2. I totally agree… Recently, I experienced those same type of feeling with my little league baseball team. During the past four months we’ve put in alot of hard work but towards the end we were partially divided. The players who seemed to catch on quick were distant from others. Although the season was ending I don’t think these actions were on purpose. Therefore I provided a little more purpose, direction and motivation to get everyone up to speed.
    This really help us enjoy the last days of the season as a team.

  3. As an upcoming teacher, I find it helpful to read/listen to testimonials from current teachers. I found this post to be a helpful one! I love that you use Twitter and Pinterest as resources and as way to reach out to other teachers. I am almost addicted to both so it is good to know that this will benefit me in the future! I agree that April sneaks up on you and you feel like you will not get everything done that you hoped for. Even for me as a college student, I find myself rushing/running around in April and May thinking that I’ll never have time to complete everything.

    I think it is great that you don’t give up. You keep helping and encouraging the students when they need it the most. This has shown me that I can make a difference and to never get discouraged in my (future) classroom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s