The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.


Teaching is a hard business. It isn’t for the faint-hearted, the thin-skinned, the unmotivated, or the inflexible. I have many days that I go home completely, thoroughly, unashamedly exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally. There are days that I wonder if I did any good, if I made a difference, if any of it matters.

But then I talk to someone, maybe a friend or a family member, maybe a complete stranger, and I am reminded that yes, I am doing good, I am making a difference, and what I am doing every day does matter. Whether it is that boy whose fourth grade teacher awakened a sense of purpose and passion or a girl who was brought from the brink of despair by an English teacher who found the right book at the right moment or the young man who was taught how to beat a drum and find a community in the marching band, teachers are making a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of children every single day.

Yet we still have tough times. We push through, we find our center, we recharge, we regroup, and we carry on. As so many have said in so many different settings, “This, too, shall pass.”

Today I reflect on the near completion of that time of year that a teacher blogger colleague I admire yet have never met refers to, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as DEVOLSON: the Dark, Evil Void of Late September, October, and November.


(I apologise to We Are Teachers and Love, Teach for snatching the image from their website; the last time I tried linking it, the link vanished and the image disappeared with it.)

I know that November isn’t quite over (we actually have a handful of days after Thanksgiving Break), but as far as I am concerned, today is the end of the longest 11-week period of the year. Tomorrow is going to be fun. It is going to be great. We are going to have fun and we are going to do great things. Why? Because I said so. I’m not going to let the upcoming five-day weekend of gorging myself on way too much pie, pumpkin, turkey, pie, more pie, and a little bit more pie get ruined by anything. Tomorrow is my day and it is our day.

The nonsense that happened today (having to call parents during the middle of a writing lesson, having to send students out of the room, having to deal with flying glue stick caps and pencils, and a host of other things) are done and over. Tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes and I am determined to see it end that way!

What are some of the things we are going to do to make the day before Thanksgiving Break an awesome one? I’m glad you asked! Here’s a sampler:

  • Make picture frames with our learning buddies to celebrate the work we’ve already done this year
  • Write thank you letters to one another for being a part of our classroom community (thank you, Love, Teach, for the idea!)
  • Break out our tabletop games for a chunk of time in the morning to unplug and reconnect with one another
  • Enjoy the crisp autumn air before it is quickly replaced with air that hurts
  • Watch videos of Kid President encouraging us to be more awesome

DEVOLSON 2016 is done and gone; how do you celebrate the end of the DEVOLSON?


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