I’m writing this post from the safety of Spring Break, a steaming cup of tea beside me and my six year old son, still in his Star Wars pajamas, curled at my hip. I’m breathing now, relaxed and renewed, and actually looking forward to returning to school in just a couple of days.
A week ago I was running in a hundred different directions, doing my best to keep up, and trying to figure out all I could do to buoy morale on my campus. March and April are what our superintendent aptly calls “the tired time.”
I remember seeing the graphs when I was a young teacher. They tracked morale and looked like a wave at Mavericks. The trough of spring invites a wipeout.
As a principal, I’m particularly cognizant of the tiredness that begins to creep up on all of us adults (parents, staff, and administrators too) and the importance of counteracting it as best we can to avoid unnecessary conflict, stress, and emotionality.
Ironically, this wave of exhaustion rolls in at the same time the kids are scurrying around like sand crabs. Spring for a thirteen year old is a time of blossoms and bounce, considerably different than it is for the over thirty crowd.
So we do our best to ride the wave. At Diegueño our ASB puts on Spirit Week, when even adults dig wearing Hawaiian shirts for a few days; it’s tough to frown while wearing a lei. April 1st saw a fantastic visit by Fablehaven author Brandon Mull, who talked about imagination and creativity to a packed library. On the Monday before break both staff and students enjoyed a rollicking Spirit Day, and we’re preparing for a week long “Kindness Challenge” in late April.
Still, the best balm for the tired time is Spring Break.
School years have their patterns, their ebbs and flows, high tides and low. As school communities we’re wise to learn these and anticipate (and acknowledge) that our work doesn’t have the placidity of a pond, but the power of an ocean.
Spring Break renews, and alters the mood of people returning to campus. We’ll all come back to a busy time, as we finish the last nine weeks of this school year and plan ahead for the year ahead. When we get back from Spring Break we have just over a hundred days before the opening day of school in the fall.
And it’s exciting.
I’m looking forward to the bustle of the last few weeks of the school year. The purposeful encouragement we shared as a school in March and April and a great week spent with family have refilled my tanks for the mad dash that takes us to June.
And with that tired time on the other side of a week off, I’m optimistic that we can all take a deep breath of spring air and rise out of the valley on that morale graph, finishing strong, healthy, and together.