The Lesson

I hate to be the one to admit this, even to myself, but school starts back up in a week. (Shock! Awe! Horror!) Thankfully, I’ve actually spent my summer months in a state of somewhat blissful transcendence. I’ve had a blast, you guys.

I’ve done something I haven’t in years: I traveled, I spent money, I ate all the things–I truly enjoyed myself. That may seem like a run-of-the-mill season for some, but for me it isn’t. I’ve spent years in school during the summer (undergrad and grad) or working, and during this summer I did work but I also Played Real Hard.

I sat on my back porch in glorious June weather every day for two weeks to read, so I inhaled seven books. I wanted to go to a Cardinals game with my son, so I did that. I wanted to go eat all possible foods at Taste of Chicago, so I did that too. I wanted to give myself a brain implosion by going to IKEA for the first time ever, so I did that (only spent $70!). I wanted to wander around Manhattan wearing a safari suScreen Shot 2016-07-27 at 7.45.56 PMnhat and and then lie down on the floor of The Met to really take in the woodwork of a 14th century Spanish ceiling…. and so, yeah, I did that too (see photo).

In addition, I’ve thought about my August through May school goals as little as possible. That may sound harsh, especially considering I love my work, but I really have tried to forget it. This past year was taxing; everything was new and fresh and…well…hard. I made some amazing friends, and I taught some truly brilliant students. But I also wore myself down and so I took this summer to rejuvenate.

Know what I learned?

I need to teach students more about enjoying their lives. I shouldn’t need to take two months of summer doing the things I love in order to feel whole again. They shouldn’t feel like that either.

So much of the year for teachers is wrapped up in testing, data, curriculum, and Core. I can’t blame those things, because they can be great and helpful tools. But the problem is me. I let those things override the true lesson, and I often find myself stressed out and anxious. There are days when I know I’m not nice to students because of it.

So here’s the reminder to me, to you, to all: Remember to enjoy life. Homework assignments, grading, lesson plans… are they teaching or are they “busy”? Teach those kids to enjoy their lives and expand where their head’s at–end of lesson.

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