March is an extremely long month for teachers. It does not come with the welcome break of Presidents’ Day, and if Easter falls in April, as it does this year, March is the month that many just have to literally march through putting one foot in front of the other.
One of the best things about teaching Julius Caesar to 10th graders was the fantastic soothsayer prophecy for Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March.” However, as Caesar did not heed this premonition, I hope that these four items will not fall on deaf ears. Fun fact: in the play, Caesar says he is deaf in his left ear.
These are the characteristics that I want teachers to BEWARE this Ides of March, delivered in the most sophisticated poetic form: the acrostic. Fun fact #2: In the play, Caesar was stabbed 33 times when he didn’t listen. Just sayin’.
An independent teacher is the one who gets it done by herself. She does not rely on others to help in anyway…that is until it is too late. Coming from a fiercely independent person, I implore you to ditch some of this independence during the month of March. Ask for help. Lighten your own load. You do not have to do it all.
Doubt is something that can come creeping in during the time of March and can manifest itself in many ways. Many of us are often just weeks away from some large, looming test. Whether it be a statewide test or perhaps an AP test, do not let doubt start to creep in regarding the content and curriculum that you have planned for your class. Should I teach one more novel? Have I assigned enough essays? Should I have spent more time on grammar?
You know your students best. You understand what they need, and you have been providing that throughout the year. Do you not let doubt override what you believe would be the best course of action for your classroom as the school year winds down.
This time of year, I can even doubt if I am in the right profession due to lack of administrative support, piles of paperwork, or other red tape. It doesn’t last long though, and it is quickly remedied by a glance around my classroom and the students whom I am helping to shape into better thinkers and communicators. I always seem to receive a “thank you so much for making me write so much” email or text from a former student just at the right time when the doubt starts to creep in. (Shout outs to Rachel Hayes and Abby Scarce for the most recent notes of alumni appreciation.)
Beware of your own ego as well as the ego of others. Ego can get in the way much as the flaw of being too independent; however, ego is what does not allow us to be able to apologize or to be humble. If you have recently put your proverbial foot in your mouth (at least a weekly occurrence for me), whether it be to students or to a colleague, go and allow yourself to clear the air and apologize.
Congratulate others on achievements instead of allowing your ego to dampen that excitement for them. Give another teacher a compliment. Don’t let your ego get in the way of recognizing the good in others’ classrooms.
At the opening of the school year, I am always ready to change just about everything. I have been reading and thinking all summer; I am ready to shake it up. However, as we settle into the year, I can also find myself settling into a routine for the sake of a routine. If you are stagnate you are not showing growth. With spring just around the corner, March is the time to show growth. Maybe it is time to abandon a stagnant practice or shake up a lesson with something new.
How do you get through the month of March successfully? What characteristics do you think teachers should beware this Ides of March?