Fellow #BLOG365 blogger, Adam Brown, is using our year-long blog experience to reflect each day on how he may have fallen short in his professional life. His insights are powerful. I am taking a page from him on this blog post.
I failed this summer.I didn’t take time for myself this summer to rest. I knew it in August, after my summer was over, after my opportunity to self correct was gone.
I work 11 months a year. That pretty much means I get 4 weeks off in the summer. I used all 4 of my weeks for professional development this summer. And, for me, professional development means a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop, a Civil War Institute, facilitating a Colonial Williamsburg Teacher’s Institute (CWTI), and the ASCD Leader to Leader Conference.
Three of these involved lots of walking, hot/humid temperatures, and long hours. All of them were full of intense conversations, networking, and traveling. I facilitated the CWTI program in Williamsburg which meant keeping up with 28 teachers and presenting 6 application sessions.
Every weekend this summer I was with my family. We traveled to Plains, Georgia to see Jimmy Carter. We spent four days in Atlanta. We visited family.
I over scheduled myself.
I rationalized my travel this summer by saying it was really for me. My summer professional development inspires me and energizes me for the school year ahead. I was traveling and it was exhausting, but that’s the way I want to spend my summers. I was surrounded by my loves: history, friends, Williamsburg, teachers. I learned so much.
But, I didn’t rest and by August I was feeling it. My body revolted a bit. My joints screamed at me.
Hurricane Hermine has given me a reprieve. By the end of this we will have had 6 days off in a row, 3 because of the hurricane. I spent a lot of time over the last few days reading, watching trash tv, catching up on Veep, cleaning and organizing my house, writing, baking. I have slept in and taken long naps and worked out. I have done what I should have done this summer. I feel recharged. I feel ready to get back to work.
I have lots of friends who spend their summers like I do. We hop from workshop to workshop. We learn. We do it for our students. We do it to be better at our craft (yes, teaching is a craft!). We do it collaborate with colleagues from across the country. We make connections that help our students. We know who to call when we need a lesson on Valley Forge or a resource to teach the Industrial Revolution or if we need help with curriculum writing. We build relationships that last far beyond our summers.
I’m not giving up any of that…ever.
Being an educator is all-consuming. We are parents, spouses, and friends too. Our lives are busy and complex and we never stop pondering, questioning, seeking more for our families, ourselves and our students. It’s part of the educator DNA.
But, next summer and all year-long I vow to listen to my body and spirit more, to take time for me. Time that is focused on my passions outside of school. I am grateful to have #BLOG365 and hoping it can keep me in check when it comes to this promise.