As the year turns

A friend wrote to me recently, asking, “Since when has the passage of days and months been reduced to a few short minutes?” Most of us have experienced this feeling of time rushing by, of dates on the calendar flipping by faster than we have been able to get hold of them and turn them into productive spaces. And when the end of the year rolls around, we turn to each other and say, “It seems like the year began just a moment ago!”

With everything speeding up around us, our levels of anxiety often rise, leaving us feeling that little has been accomplished and there is so much left to do within the time left to us. The last few months of the academic calendar are experienced in a blur. Lessons are crammed into the short duration of a class period, students are exhorted to finish their assignments (or else!), and teachers pore over their evaluation sheets trying to make sense of each student’s progress in ways that will make sense to both parents and administrators – not to mention the students themselves!

That’s how we feel sometimes at Teacher Plus too. We put an issue to bed, hold the printed copies in our hands in brief excitement at having produced one more month’s package of teaching/learning material, we stuff brown envelopes, mail them off… and then we turn around and pitch ourselves headlong into the next month’s content. The process of sifting through submissions and commissioning new pieces is a continuous one, but the monthly production cycle allows us to look at these articles within the structure of a balanced package. Something for primary, middle, and high school. Something on arts, science, social studies, and math. A bit to chew on, and a bit to apply in our classrooms.

We’re happy that many more teachers and teacher trainees are sending us unsolicited articles. Their voices, straight from the realm of practice, are important to keeping Teacher Plus relevant to the profession. This issue, for instance, features the reflections of one such teacher, wondering about the issue of “practice”. How can we rescue something that is seen as boring and routine, a “necessary evil”, and turn it into a vital and consciously meaningful input to learning? How can it become part of reflective doing — for learners as well as teachers?

So as we hurtle into the new year, we hope that we will also take time to pause and see how to incorporate such ideas into our way of doing things. If you’ve stopped long enough to read this – maybe there is still hope?