My Spring Break and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament coincided the past few years, and again this year. The Tournament is nicknamed March Madness. For me, it’s a reminder my own March Madness is coming to a close. It’s also a reminder to thank my husband, daughters, colleagues, and friends for helping me balance my hat of many colors.

March isn’t just about college basketball for me; it’s about 124 eighth grade research papers, a National Junior Honor Society Induction and Recognition Ceremony, two evenings of parent-teacher conferences, and keeping a balance between work and home. In other words—March Madness.

There are times when I wonder why I try to do it all, but after each of my March main events, I’m satisfied and know that the craziness was worth it.

My March Madness actually starts in January when I introduce my students to an MLA-formatted research paper project.  By the beginning of March, I’m explaining to 124 eighth graders how to properly incorporate MLA citations for their first time.  A week or so later, I collect those research papers so I can assess the students’ learning and my effectiveness.  As I read the papers, I see the learning and know the weeks I worried and was, at times, frustrated were truly worth it. Thankfully, after 12 years of knowing the stress a pile of ungraded research papers can add to my life, my husband understands that I have to ignore all my other hats until the papers are graded. Without being able to dedicate 18 hours of my weekend to reading the research papers, I’d still be looking at the pile on our dining room table.

The pile waiting for me to start.

The pile waiting for me to start.

Along with teaching in March, I also coordinate the yearly NJHS ceremony.  It’s a time consuming project that became more complicated this year.  Snow days made deadlines more difficult to meet, but in the end, the evening ceremony allowed me to focus on approximately 130 scholarly, service-minded teenagers.  Giving my own daughter a congratulatory, new-member hug certainly was an added benefit for wearing a hat of many colors this year.

Congratulatory Hug.

Congratulatory Hug.

My final March Madness event is parent-teacher conferences. Conferences are two late nights, crock-pot suppers, and Todd taking on the role of parent by himself since Ali’s conferences are the same time as I’m hosting other parents. This year when I returned home after the second night of conferences, I was exhausted but satisfied.  March Madness was almost complete. It was time to sit down and enjoy a few games of basketball over spring break before the calendar flips and April showers me with more opportunities to be pleased with my hat of many colors.

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