Blank Slates Are Overrated

Is it even possible to be ready for the first day of school? Seriously, the amount of work that has to be done is astounding. (When you bring your own two kids into the mix, like I had to for three days, the amount of work includes picking up crayons and making emergency potty runs… you can forget getting out by five.)

There is the idea of a blank slate where you can start fresh and create whatever vision you want. This year, I decided that I wanted to reframe my teaching to fall under four main questions and rework my room to make the most effective use of my walls for interactive, educational purposes. (See this post if you don’t remember how difficult that is where I work.) While my slate wasn’t completely blank, I had certainly given it a good washing.

And it’s hard. I know why teachers do the same thing year after year. I especially know why teachers with kids, parents, families and lives do it…if you stick with a pattern, it is possible to do it all in the allotted time since much of the work is done already.

I get the time factor…I don’t have a lot of it myself. I think it’s easy to judge these teachers, to call them lazy and not dedicated, but it’s Saturday and my kids are outside on the slippy-slide. Where am I? Inside working on a parent survey to send out through email. Then on to a video to show my class rules rather than a lecture. I’m making the best choice for my class, but am I making the best choice?

But…if what I’m doing now works well, maybe next year’s slate won’t be so blank.


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