Posts Tagged ‘June’


Welcome to the fastest, busiest and craziest month of the school year – AprilMayJune. Yes, you read that correctly. AprilMayJune is the wildest month of the school year.

We return from spring break this week, and others will be back next week, and when you do it is an all-out sprint to the finish line in June. I have written before about the rhythm of a school year, but there is something about the day after spring break until the end of June that is both continually exhausting and exhilarating.

I am sure almost all professions have a rhythm to them, but school is undeniably cyclical.  Until we abandon the agrarian schooling model almost all of us are on, that is not going to change.

So, just what is it that creates this unique post-spring break feeling?  

I think it starts with weather.  It just feels different.  We are still in winter going into the spring break.  This year, we had a snow day just a couple weeks before spring break, and now we come back to school, and flowers are out, daylight savings time has started, and the morning frost (at least for those of us on the west coast in Canada) is a memory.  

But it is much more than just the weather.  At the beginning of March, we feel like we have so much time left in the year.  And when we return – June looks very close.  In the classroom, the pace picks up.  Teachers realize that they are often a little behind on the content they hope to cover, so it is time to step on the accelerator.  For those of us in the Board Office, it is full on living in two school years – we are thinking about how this year ends, but spending as much or more time looking at calendars, budgets, and staffing for next year.  It is a time of year that takes some significant administrative effort.  

And of course it is the season of field trips for students, and track meets, school musicals and very quickly awards nights and graduations.  It is the event season, and staff and students have school commitments outside the school day on the calendar regularly.

And it just all runs together.  It is a full sprint.  There is a June 30th finish line.  And yes, some will work after this date, but many don’t.  Students and staff will be off for the summer not to return for 8 or 9 weeks.   

The “there is lots of time” feelings of February are replaced by the “uh oh we got to get moving” feelings  of AprilMayJune.  It is a 91 day month where the days feel long but collectively the time feels much shorter than any other month in the school year.

So, colleagues reading this, my apologies for all the calendar invitations you are receiving for events in 2024, it is only my AprilMayJune anxiety kicking in. Let’s get going!

I tell my family Canada Day, July 1st, is my favourite holiday.  Not for the celebrations or parties, but it means stress can come down, and sleep can go up!

For all of you returning this week or next to school – students, staff and parents – embrace AprilMayJune – it is the most enjoyable month of the year. 

Oh, and if you do get stressed, consider my Play the Trap blog post from a few years ago as a good companion piece to this one.

Happy Spring!


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Play The Trap

When I get asked about my advice for June, I share a hockey metaphor – “Dump the puck in deep and play the trap.”

June is a great time in schools.  It is full of celebrations.  There are track meets, music concerts, year-end field trips, awards ceremonies, final exams, graduation ceremonies and more.  And the energy, oh the energy!

So what is with the hockey metaphor?

For non-hockey people, it is probably first worth explaining what it means to play the trap.  Playing the trap became synonymous with boring hockey particularly in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.  A team, often to protect a lead (but sometimes for the entire game), would line up their players in-between the blue lines, making it very difficult for the other team to generate any offense.  Rather than playing a free-flowing game, they would dump the puck in the offensive zone and often only send one offensive player in to chase the puck.  It was seen as highly successful, so successful (and boring) that rules have been changed to try to stop teams from using the strategy.

And what does this have to do with schools in June?

June is great in so many ways in schools!  In addition to the list above, it is also incredibly stressful, a time when people are all tired – late night followed by early mornings at school, when high stakes exams are being written, when plans for summer and the fall are being finalized, and when everyone is just a bit on edge.  To be blunt, in June I find students, staff and parents say and do things they wouldn’t do at other times of the year.  Everyone is looking towards the finish line.

I have written before about the good times in the school year to think about changes in school.  My June advice is that this is not the time to be aggressive with new ideas, changes or a time people really want you to help them think differently.  When a situation looks to be heating up, I would encourage everyone to “dump the puck in deep and play the trap.”  Maybe wait at least a day to respond to “that” email, or suggest a meeting in early July.  I find everyone has a completely different disposition even a week after school is out.

June is crazy.  Crazy good.  But crazy.

And sometimes the best offense, is not being more aggressive, but playing a good, disciplined defense.

So take some advice from Lou Lamoriello and his New Jersey Devils of a couple of decades ago, and take a defensive strategy – it just might help you win a championship!


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