Slice of Life 16: That panicked feeling

This is about the time of year I start to feel a little bit panicked. On the one hand, the recent warmer weather reminds me that spring is just around the corner and that the end of the school is (almost) in sight. Every day to summer vacation is a happier one.

On the other hand, the end of school is (almost) in sight and Gah! There’s still so much I have to do! Time is running out! I still have to cover X, Y, and Z! 

It’s a double-edged sword, truly. While I look forward to spring break in just two weeks, I feel panicked about fitting in more material before the end of the marking period. With only about two months left, I still need to get through three books with my 9th graders, and still carve out time for more independent reading (our Read-A-Thon has been such a success, and I want to find a way to keep that energy going).

Worse, the minute we get back from spring break, we’ll only have one month until the AP Lang exam, which means we’ll be in full exam prep mode. Though my students have no doubt acquired the essential skills necessary to do well on the exam, this year I’ve focused less on explicit exam preparation and more on authentic critical reading and writing skills. And no matter how well prepared my students are each year, I can’t help feel nervous as we approach the exam.

But I guess this is the nature of teaching. You have just so much time with your kids each year, and there comes an inevitable point where you have to trust that you’ve taught them to the best of your ability and then they’re on their own—whether they’re walking into an exam room or into next year’s English class.

And you just hope you’ve made enough of a difference.

slice of lifeThis post is part of the “Slice of Life” series, organized by the teachers at Two Writing Teachers, whose goal is to give teachers a place to write and reflect. This March, more than 250 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even some students), visit


  1. rosecappelli

    I think it’s the same with parenting. There comes a time when you just have to trust that you did the best you could.


  2. Kim

    I think we’re all feeling a bit panicked right now. I know I have more writing units left I want to teach that will just not fit in. What to do??? I’m sure you’ll find all the authentic teaching you’ve done surrounding reading real books will prepare them.


  3. Your writing conveys the panicked feelings you are having! I was starting to get panicked about my own end of the school year – yikes!!!! That’s how powerful your writing is!!! But, let’s both calm down and take some deep breathes – we will get everything we want to get done and YES – know that you have indeed made a difference!


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