Surviving the Second Quarter Slump

Is it just me, or is the second quarter the most difficult quarter of the year? Students pushing boundaries, a never-ending to-do list, the pressure of reaching all of your students so they learn and grow, collaborate with your team, meetings galore, etc. I can feel my blood pressure rising just writing it down, and that is not even my actual to-do list right now!

I call this “The Second Quarter Slump”.

Even though it seems like there is no end in sight, the end will be here in due time. I have three tips to make it through The Second Quarter Slump, or at least to make it more bearable.

1. Try something new.
I am not talking about adding more stress to your already full plate. Rather, try a simple change to mix up the regular day to day that you and your students are used to. For example, activities that are usually independent can be done with a partner instead. Write with a pen instead of a pencil. Have a student “teach” how to solve problems in math. Keep things simple when trying something new during The Second Quarter Slump.

2. Take care of yourself.
Do you need to leave as soon as contract hours are over (read: early) so you do not burn out? Do it. Do you need to get to school early to wrap your head around a particular instructional activity and to feel ready for the day? Do it. Do you need to eat lunch by yourself to regroup and reflect, or do you need to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge for a change? Think about what will give you what you need so that you can continue to be the teacher your students need you to be.

3. Teach with an accent for a day.
This one is a joke, but honestly, if you did this it would probably help you feel less like you are in a slump.

4. Remember your “why”.
When things are rough, I often consider my “why” for teaching. I love teaching and helping my students grow, and I want to make a positive difference in every one of their lives. So when I am buried beneath a stack of paperwork, disciplining a student for the tenth time of the day, in yet another meeting, or just feeling overwhelmed, I remember that they are in my class for a reason.


Six more weeks of The Second Quarter Slump to go! What are your survival tips?


Caitlin Gawlowski

I was born to be a teacher, although I did not realize that teaching was my calling until I began college. I have always loved to write and began college with the mindset of becoming a journalist. Before I began my freshman year of college, I changed my major to Elementary Education on a whim and have never looked back. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University and won the Outstanding Student Teacher Award during my student teaching experience in the Cave Creek Unified School District.
I spent 7 years in the Washington Elementary School District teaching 2nd and 3rd grade. I became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2018, and I hold a certificate in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy: Reading/Language Arts. The 2019-2020 school year marks the beginning of my 8th year teaching, where I will be teaching 3rd grade English Language Learners, and supporting other National Board candidates on their journey toward National Board certification.
If I am lucky enough to have free time, you can find me planning my wedding, spending time with my infant son and fiancé, taking group fitness classes, or enjoying a good book.

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