Christmas break is always such a nice time to slow down the pace, spend some time with friends and family, and recharge for the new year. In a school setting, this is often a necessary time to refresh for the second semester. Once the second semester starts back, however, it doesn’t wait for anyone to slowly awaken from the way-too-much-pie induced coma.

Weeks resume their regularly scheduled programming. Planning, assignments, projects, tests, grading, emails…afterschool activities, clubs, practices…meetings, work responsibilities, conferences…all seem to continue their course, like a train not slowing down for you to hop on. It can be easy for parents, students, and educators (this one included) to get run over as January chugs along.

While I’ve never really been one for New Year’s resolutions, I try to make myself slow down from time to time and at least reflect on the past week, quarter, or semester. I asked my students to do the same last week during their advisory time. We looked back on our last semester and considered what has been difficult so far this year, where growth has been evident, and how have friendships been made or developed. This is always an interesting – and even difficult for some – exercise for fifth grade students.

As I paused to take part in the same exercise, it also allowed me some insight into what my students are thinking. In my class, students worked on some writing skills as they expressed their one big goal for this upcoming year. Of course, this also pushed me to think of a few goals for the new year, and we had some great discussions about planning to achieve our goals.

These past few weeks have been wild – with a goose chase too – and there have been times where I’ve felt guilty for walking into a classroom or office, asking someone a question, and later realizing I hadn’t even taken the time to ask them how they were doing or how their break was. As I write this and reflect on the past weeks, I’ve realized just how quickly they’ve flown by. Feel free to take some time to slow down and reflect, reassess, and set a goal.

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