Packing It In

Sarah Kirchoff Education, Elementary, Life in the Classroom

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It’s that time of year! The countdown is on! 23 more school days left. (By the time this comes out, it may only be a week or so left). There are mixed feelings about approaching the end of the year. Some people are counting down to the end of the year with excitement and anticipation for the following school year. “Yippee! We are going to first grade!” Some teachers are just counting down because they feel the school year has been a trainwreck. “I can’t wait for this all to just be over.”

In some instances, people say we shouldn’t be counting down because it makes the students think we do not have to learn anymore. They have checked out. I think it depends on the attitude of the teacher and the chemistry of the class. In my class, we are excited about working hard to go to first grade. We are of the “Yippee!” mindset. Another teacher that has been struggling with students or the overwhelming workload, may have the other mindset. Either way, we shouldn’t be judged for our reasons as to why we are looking forward to the school year ending. I can’t remember a teacher that wasn’t looking forward to the end of a school year. Teaching is a demanding job that requires a summer reset! We need the downtime to gather our thoughts, reassess our priorities, or just simply rest.

This summer, my original plan was to take time for myself. I am starting in a new district in July, so I thought I would have all of June and a majority of July to myself for the first time in years. I typically will teach summer school, work on a summer committee, or plan over the summer. I couldn’t sign up to do any of those things this summer because of my transition from one district to another. What I have come to learn is that I will indeed need to be planning and preparing for my new position. As mentioned before in previous blogs, I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I want to be as prepared as possible. What I need to step back and remember is that I need to take time to re-charge. It’s ok for me to count down the time until I can do those things.

I always look forward to the end of a school year. Sometimes it is because I had a difficult year, but in other years, I am truly proud of my students, and I am so happy and excited to celebrate their growth. Whatever the reason, the end of the school year is always filled with anticipation for everyone. We just need to keep a positive attitude for the benefit of our students and ourselves. No matter the reason, even if it is the “yippee” mindset or the “trainwreck” mindset, the summer is our time to reset and recharge. Keep on counting down! What do you look forward to? Do you count down?

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Sarah Kirchoff is a kindergarten teacher in the Higley Unified School District. She has over 20 years of experience in early childhood education. She began her teaching career way back in August 1999, when everyone was worried about Y2K. She did not even have computers in her classroom at that time! Since then, she has taught first grade for four years, preschool for three years, second grade for two years and kindergarten for twelve years. She has worked for three different school districts during her teaching career. During this time, she has been able to identify which grade she found to be the most enjoyable. Her greatest teaching passion is for kindergarten. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University. She was teacher of the year at her school in the 2019-2020 school year. Most recently, she became a National Board Certified Teacher as an Early Childhood Generalist in December of 2020. She currently serves on numerous committees at her school including school site council, the instructional leadership team, and the culture and climate team. She is a mentor teacher at her school and has mentored numerous interns and student teaching candidates. When she is not busy with school commitments, she spends time with her family. She has a husband who is also a teacher, and four children. Two of which are students at NAU and two that are in high school. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading books and spending time with family, friends and her two dogs. Young children need a teacher that is always advocating for them, socially, emotionally, and academically. Sarah wants every student she encounters to realize their potential and she is willing to help in any way she can. The impact early childhood educators have on students reaches far beyond their younger years. Sarah wants to leave a positive impact on her students so they can continue to have wonderful educational experiences beyond her classroom.

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