This is What It’s Like Teaching Your Children in April

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In Nebraska, many of us know what it’s like to be a mom of school-aged kids in April. It’s full of constant uncertainties.

“It’s cold in the morning, but by recess will he need this coat?”

“We only have two mismatched gloves left from the battle that was winter, so having her rock these gloves confidently builds character, right?”

“It’s been a month of no safe seats, will he make it to the end safe-seat free?”

“How do I keep my daughter motivated when it’s beautiful outside and she wants to climb trees?”

While being a Midwestern parent in April brings nothing but questions, being your child’s teacher is fantastic. As a high school teacher, I can tell you that my favorite month to teach your kids is in April. Here are the top five reasons that teaching kids in April is the best!

All of the kinks are ironed out by now.

At the beginning of any year, your child and I were testing each other. I was literally testing the students to find out their challenge level and they were testing me to figure out if I was the real deal. While this can be as fun as a roller coaster, it can also be exhausting. From August to October, we are merely just meeting and working out all of the kinks while we power through our curriculum, so we can experience and learn to the best of our ability. While those months are the most important in any school year, April is the pay-off we get for making it through the kinks.

We have built a community.

By April, the students and I have a fully functioning community in our classrooms where each citizen has a purpose. We know Arthur is good about making sure all of the novels are put away. We appreciate the fact that Margaret will always find a work-around for any computer issue experienced by student or staff, and we know Hazel will text those who are absent what they missed that day. By April, most classrooms are capitalizing on each student’s individual strengths, and working much like a community would. The kids know who to turn to for extra peer help, who to look to when they need someone to cheer them up, and who will help them out of a jam if they forgot their computer charger. Kids are amazing little humans who are practicing real world skills in the classroom. By April, we’ve been celebrating our individual strengths for about six months!

Maturity happens.

I teach 9th graders in a huge school. When many of these teens step foot in the same hallways as giant seniors, it’s understandable that they freak out a little. The immaturity from middle school inevitably follows them into their new hallways, and it can be time-consuming to let them embrace their youth while getting them to focus on their future. By April, my freshmen start to see that this is the beginning of the rest of their lives. It’s terrifying and exciting. It makes even the silliest human focus a bit more. 

In contrast to my squirrely 9th graders, the  seniors I teach get adorably sentimental about the 13 years they have spent in our school’s care. Most of them are excited to take on life’s new chapter, but now, it’s super real to them. In three short months, they’re on their own. It makes them turn around and thank a teacher, appreciate their school, and enjoy the last couple months of high school.

The end is in sight.

In the dark ages of January and February, no one—not even we the teachers—can see the light. We’re busy digging ourselves out of our houses to get to school, and many of the students are digging their way out of piles of work. Both of us—the teachers and the students—have dark circles under our eyes from not having seen our houses in the daylight in months, and we harbor a determination in our spirit that we will survive another Nebraska winter. However, in sweet, delightful April, we can all see the light—literally and figuratively.Teachers can see that the hard work has paid off with the kids because most are understanding the content, or at least they’re finding a way to get the answers to their questions. For the students, the much anticipated ACT is over, spring season is in full gear, and students can once again go outside for fresh air and peace of mind. April is magical in education. 

So, as parents do their best to send their kids to school with all that they need for success each day, just know how much fun we teachers are having celebrating the child’s strengths and watching them achieve each goal.

Teaching is awesome every day, but it’s especially magical in April. 

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Tessa A. Adams is a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Masters in reading. She is a language arts and creative writing teacher and is the co-author of the blog www.familyfootnote.com. She has three children and when she is not mothering or teaching, she is writing. Her work can be found in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Huff Post Parents, Empty Sink Publishing, Route 7 Review, Sammiches and Psychmeds, THAT Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, xoJane, and Parent.co.