I realize that T.S. Eliot was talking about far more important issues than how my own semester is going, but his words ring true for me nevertheless. My semester certainly started off with a bang. I was feeling confident about 1:1, I had planned well, and my energy levels were good. Unfortunately, about 2/3 or 3/4 through, I began to feel sapped, drained, tired. In short, the bang was fast becoming a whimper. Lesson plans that I was excited to try did not turn out as well as I’d hoped, complaints from students about too much work or too difficult assignments started wearing me down, and it affected me more this semester than in years past.
Two weeks ago, in a moment of desperation, I actually began searching the Internet for tips on how to “finish the semester strong.” While there’s plenty out there for students on this topic, there’s not much out there in the way of ideas for teachers. I have only been teaching in an upper school setting for 4 1/2 years at this point, and I’m still learning,and I hope I never stop. But I still have questions. Is it normal to have these dips in motivation? Is it normal to have a bad semester? A bad year? Could I have avoided this somehow? Should I have planned more? Did my class experiences this semester create this lethargic feeling, or did I transmit my lethargy to my classes and create the experiences? It’s the old chicken-egg conundrum, I suppose.
As I wind up this semester, however, I really do want some answers so that I can start off next semester once again with a bang and this time keep it resounding to the end. I have a few ideas running through my brain about changes I’m going to make, different approaches I would like to take, etc. But suggestions from others are always a help.
So if you are struggling to get through these final weeks, just know that I’m right there with you.