This week I have been working on curriculum and pacing guides for next year for kindergarten. Our state is one of the few hold outs that has not adopted the common core and is still revising and assessing our own state standards.
Our English standards are getting increasingly harder, as are Math. Science changed up this year, too. I can see that the focus there is going to developing inquiring minds, observing, experimenting recording. I think these are all good things, very good things. English is adding a focus on collaboration and vocabulary development as well as enhanced writing skills. Again, in and of themselves, good things. I see the basis for many of the new standards and the tweaking of the old standards to be more in line with the 21st century skills. All good things.
BUT, here is where I am in panic mode. There are not enough hours in my school day to accomplish all that needs to be done. I could EASILY spend 2.5 hours a day on English/reading/writing/literacy. And a good hour and a half on math. Science, a good hour. History/"social sciences" another hour. That's 6 hours. Add in playtime, lunch, and specials, and that add up to 7.5 hours. Oh wait, they need transition time, bathroom time, snack time, walking to and from cafeteria and specials, packing up and unpacking, lunch orders, etc. Now we are up to at least 8. We are only in school for 6.5. HOW do I fit it all in???
And on top of that, lets add to the mix the fact that many of my students are just turning 5 this summer and have the accompanying, age appropriate, short attention span. Some have never been away from home. They need a lot of help, guidance with procedures, social skills, etc. Some have never touched a computer. Some have never wiped themselves.
When do they get to just be kids? I am really sad when I think about Little Princess starting kindergarten this year. I am excited because I know how much she will learn. I know they are like sponges. She learned soo much in pre-k, is doing great sounding out CVC words. She has a head start, like the others in her class. But I know the pace of K is now frantic at times. Can she handle it? Can any of them? Can I?
Sometimes, I think it's time to change grades. Part of me thinks if I had older students, I wouldn't feel like I am pushing so hard. They would have had a year of school. They would be older, and maybe I wouldn't feel so much like I am being asked to climb a mountain whose foundation isn't strong enough.
So now, I know I am going to spend my summer vacation working, obsessing, and stressing. Researching, planning, prepping. And I really, really, really wanted a summer "off" like I get paid for!!!