As we approach the end of the year, the crush of content, testing, grades and other pressures can become overwhelming for teachers. It is important to step back and ask what I really control. States and districts set curriculum and standards and have seemingly endless testing requirements. In the next twelve or so weeks I have to help my students meet the objectives of the courses. So, this is my answer, I control how we get there. I control the timing, the amount of pressure, and the methods that I use to get us to graduation in June.
While my tool box does not seem like much, the ace up my sleeve is I know my students will make it. They will make it because we are on this journey together. At this point in the year my students know that I want them to learn and I will give them time and assistance to be successful. They trust me to be fair and listen to them. They know that I value what they think and will adjust or explain why things must remain as they are.
Here’s the key, hold them to high standards, expect great things and help them get there. They may need more than one attempt. Be patient with explanations and make sure they really understand. If they miss the mark, explain again and give them the opportunity to be a success. Sorry this isn't the “big answer” you were hoping to get, but I guarantee if you build relationships with your students, the difficult times will be easier and stress will be less for everyone involved.