Do any of those phrases mean anything to you? If so, then you might just be a teacher. As teachers, we get super excited as the thought of summer comes our way. We engage in the process of planning where, when, and what we will do with family and friends. One of the true rewards of being a teacher is always having your summers off, right? For certain, we sit around and binge watch episodes of all the popular TV series we missed during the school year and plan lots of vacations and do-nothing days. Probably not. Do not get me wrong, it is nice to be able to go to Walmart in the middle of the day knowing you will not be stuck in the long lines that form after 5 p.m. or putting something in the crockpot and knowing that you will be around to “taste test” more than a few seconds before placing it at the table for that night’s family dinner. Yet, if you asked a teacher what happens during the summer you might hear what I call the two R’s – Reflecting and Recharging.
REFLECTING – Mindfulness can make us a better teacher. Therefore, many teachers use the time during the summer, while they have a sense of calm to think through the successes, obstacles, and missed opportunities during the school year. Instead of focusing on what went wrong we take advantage of this thinking time to gain a personal perspective on methods and strategies to continue, restructure, or abort during the upcoming school year. Because of this mindful thinking, some of the best, most engaging lesson plans are written during the break. We can write them without feeling rushed to meet the weekly deadline for lesson plans. Teachers are not reluctant to plan rigorous tasks because we have not yet become overwhelmed with what our students DO NOT know. Instead, of writing lessons to fix the problem, we find ourselves writing plans to truly teach the standards.
RECHARGING – This may look different for everyone. Some may catch up on sleep, while others may attend a professional development conference to add more tools to their professional toolbox. I would not be surprised to find grade level colleagues in a 50/50 split with half sitting in a recliner while others are sitting in a district PD session for a few days during the “break”. Those in PD sessions often find this to be a great way to connect, collaborate, and share ideas with other colleagues. Regardless of how you recharge, it is necessary for all to refresh themselves. The summer is a great time to get excited about the new year by framing our ideas into themes and highlighting goals we would like to help launch or organize the teaching and learning in our classrooms for the new year.
I challenge colleagues to utilize the time during the summer to find a balance, reaffirm your instructional desires, sharpen your craft, and deepen your commitment to educating your students. If you have free time – join Twitter and participate in chats that spark your interest and expertise there is always a constant feed of great reads. No matter what you choose to do, make time to #JUSTBE!
–from Nakia’s desk