There just are not enough hours in the day this year.
As part of the new STEM initiative in our district, we have to do at least four STEM challenges per year. The challenges have a lot of value as they are really good exercises in problem-solving learning. They are, however, completely built from scratch and are a lot of work, both in creating them, having the kids do them, and then grading them. We worked for about two months to get the last one designed and created, even including meeting over fall break.
Anyhow in the midst of all this (and the regular teaching stuff we do) we were informed that the school district was sponsoring a STEM open house and we were supposed to put together an exhibit for the big event. It was at the local high school that our school feeds into and would feature the schools on our side of town - elementary, us, and the high school.
Oh yeah. One more thing to do.
So we spent several weeks on this, getting the student presenters picked out, coached and trained. Mr. Math had his wife, who is working as a sub, put together three science fair boards for our exhibit which was HUGE as we were swamped with parent meetings and some of us were also working on the Veterans Day Assembly that, of course, was scheduled for the morning after our big event. We had a lab for the visitors to do, plus the kids brought their engineering notebooks to show off. Is it any wonder that we were all getting frazzled and some of us hadn't seen our spouses or family for supper for weeks as we've been so busy doing all our regular teaching stuff and then THIS?
When the evening finally arrived, the kids were great. They got there on time - hey, free pizza - were dressed nicely, and were well-spoken. The crowd, which was huge, seemed to really enjoy it and our Director of Schools gave us a thumbs up.
The really amazing thing is that Mrs, Standard, who is now in charge of STEM, actually said we did a good job. This from a woman who never, ever can say anything nice about anything we do. It's to the point that we hate to see her show up anywhere because we know it will be nothing but criticism and complaints. We couldn't believe it. (She did scare our kids when she showed up to watch them practice. They wanted to know who the mean, grumpy lady was.)
So the dog and pony show is done. Let us hope there isn't another one for a few more years.