The Summer Slide

hoedownthrowdown

My name is Jenn…. and I have teacher guilt.

No matter how dedicated I am… No matter how much time, energy, and resources I pour into my job as a teacher, I often suffer from teacher guilt. I’m going to try to be more candid about it as the year goes on. This is not to be mistaken with “Mommy guilt” which is another very serious condition I often suffer from.

My current bout with teacher guilt has to do with The Summer Slide.

It’s the time of year I start hearing about the summer slide that my former students experienced.

What is the summer slide? It’s dropping reading levels, forgetting their ABCs , not sure how to use a + sign, for example.

This has been weighing so heavily on me today! I know it’s inevitable, expected even, but I can’t help but feel badly about it. I talked with some colleagues and asked a reassuring “We’re good teachers! (right?)”

When I got home I thought more about it.  Thinking about it reminded me of my school year resolution to “Let It Go”… and when I heard that song, I thought about dancing… and when I thought about dancing, it reminded me of the time I learned and taught  the staff  the “Hoedown Showdown” for the school talent show.

I sat in front of videos of youtube stumbling around like a lunatic. Slowly I began to get it. After time I could dance it in my sleep … But then time passed. I heard the song, and sort of remembered the motions, but I certainly was stumbling around once again. This time, instead of taking weeks to learn the moves, it took me just a few run throughs. Don’t know what I mean? Learn  it here! (Yes I was just dancing in my living room).

So i’m just going to say it- Reading is a lot like learning to dance.  The children watch, they follow your models, follow your tips, try it out piece by piece, and before long they’re “performers”. When summer comes and they’re missing out on that direct instruction, daily rigorous practice (we read A LOT in my classroom),they come back kind of remembering the moves, but stumbling to put them together.

So here’s to hoping that after a few run throughs, they are back up to speed…and I’m going to do my best to “Let It Go”.

 

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