This June, Amber Teamann wrote a blog post called What Can You Do in 16 Days? It was followed up by a letter from a district colleague, Stacy, that Amber posted on the Connected Principals blog called The Final Countdown. Both posts emphasized that the final days of school are just as important as the first days.
We all see the countdown before the holiday break, before spring break and especially in June. Staff members shout out “Two more sleeps!” as they pass each other in the hall. There are countdown boards in the main office. Some teachers put it up on their chalk or whiteboards. I’ll be honest – I’ve participated and with glee some years! But Stacy’s letter in The Final Countdown brought me up short. It really made me think. What message am I sending to students when I count down? School is horrible? I’d rather be somewhere else? I don’t really like them?
I decided to share the ideas with our staff. I photocopied these two, plus Justin Tarte‘s post, It’s That Time of the Year Again, and organized a quick jigsaw activity at our early June staff meeting. Teachers and ECE’s (early childhood educators) read and chatted. That was it. I didn’t discuss the blogs or make any directives. I just gave time to think.
But a funny thing happened in our school this June. There was no countdown! I noticed in the last week that nobody was talking in the hallway about how many days were left and especially in front of students. The whole feeling of the school was different to previous Junes I’ve experienced. Students were more calm. Teachers seemed more focussed. I didn’t sense the same June frenzy as in past years.
I have to say that I loved it.