I head back to my classroom tomorrow. It’ll be a bittersweet day in that I’ll have to leave my baby girl at home, but I will head back to my kids who I have missed. As I look back on my plans for paternity leave, I wonder if I could have done better with my plans.
My plan for paternity leave was to have my kids produce an end of the year project where they created their own country. It included all of the themes and skills that we have been building on throughout the year. They had to place their newly formed country in a body of water that was not already occupied by land. They needed to understand how their location would affect their climate and in turn how that would affect their economy. They needed to choose a government for their country and understand how it would affect their people. They had to invent a flag for their nation as well as an anthem for their country. After they created all these elements they had to reflect on how all their decisions would shape their country and how their culture would form. All in all, I think it’s a great concept for a project to wrap up the year and have the kids show off all the knowledge they have acquired over the course of a school year.
The problem I fear for this project is that I wasn’t there to help kids along. The substitute teachers we employ are great people, but I’m not sure that they could help a struggling kid to recall certain things we’ve learned throughout the year. I tried to leave hints and prompts for the sub to help remind my kids (who are GT level kids by the way) and I am hoping for the best. I also wonder if it was the best thing for the students. The best is for me to be in the classroom, but given the fact that I was going to be absent for two weeks was this the best I could have done? I guess I’ll find out tomorrow as I return and see what they have produced.
If anyone has any advice for such long-term plans and how to continue to push kids while not directly being in the classroom I would love to hear from you.