As the Year Winds Down…

The end of May and the entire month of June are tough…

  • Teachers are stressed when they compare their curriculum guides to the remaining days left on the school calendar.
  • Principals are trying to figure out how to complete the necessary observations and write up the resulting evals.
  • The students see, feel, and taste the warm weather and want to do anything but school work.
  • Parents juggle one end of the year event after another with work and family obligations.

It can be crazy out there.

Sometimes we all just need to slow down and take a deep breath. Take some think time.

Tom Burton, director of administrative services for Cuyahoga Heights Schools in Ohio, writes a regular column for the AMLE Magazine.  His May article entitled “Polishing Our Sea Glass” reminds us that “reflecting on the year’s successes and failures is not only a good practice, but a necessity if we are to be the best middle level educators we can be.”

Image of a jar full of sea glass
Maine Sea Glass

He also make the point that that “…middle level students are like pieces of sea glass. Sometimes students feel discarded, tossed around during the day with hectic schedules, slammed against the floors, and wondering when they will finally wash ashore.”

Building on the metaphor, Tom continues…”Great teachers and leaders who support true middle level education understand that even the most hardened glass can be polished into a beautiful piece of sea glass.”

So as the year winds down, may we all pause and reflect on shining moments, the humdrum, and the frustrations of the year and begin the cycle of renewal–thinking about next year and how we will continue to serve our students to the best of our abilities.

Educators never stand still; we are always moving forward to the next week, the next semester and the next year. Keep Tom’s closing words in mind, “And moving forward, take the time to recognize the beauty in all your middle level students and to create programs that will allow them to shine like polished pieces of sea glass.”


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