I don’t know about you but this summer has flown by. Just a few days ago I saw a tweet that mentioned there were only 3 weeks of summer vacation left for most educators, this took my breath away……3 weeks?!?! How was I going to make the most out of my 3 weeks?!?! I was supposed to relax and recharge…when will I fit time in my schedule to do that?!?! I’ve been so busy unwinding from the school year, taking my daughter to swim lessons/summer camp, and hosting friends/family at our vacation home that I have forgotten to take a vacation for myself!
If you know anything about me the idea of not getting something accomplished (in this scenario not finding time to relax and recharging over the summer months) installed a fear in me that made me sit down with my calendar and computer and start planning – Yes, I am now planning my time for rest and relaxation over the next three weeks. Haha
In doing some research on how to relax and unwind (clearly I have issues) I remembered an article in Education Week about educators taking time to take care of themselves during the summer. The article provided 4 ideas for making the most of the time between now and the start of the school year. So in an attempt to heed their advice, I immediately started to implement their suggestions to start to unwind:
- Become the learner instead of the teacher.
Since taking my role at the Regional Office of Education, my whole career is professional development; however, most of the time I am still the teacher in these moments. It is time for me to learn something new, be curious and practice humility as I struggle through the challenge of learning a new skill (Just like I ask my teachers to do in a training with me and they ask their students to do all year!).
I took 4 years of Spanish in High School however, to say that I was a slacker in HS is an understatement, I didn’t retain ANY of the spanish I had learned. Now, as an adult, I often find myself needing or wanting to be able to speak another language. So as research for my blog and in an attempt to make the most out of the next 3 weeks of summer I have signed up for Spanish Courses! So far I have completed almost 1 whole unit (out of 20). While I am enjoying taking this course at the end of a long day, and my family has started to take a HUGE interest in this endeavor as well (which is fun) it is frustrating at times to not be as successful as I would like but I am hanging in there and can’t wait to see my progress over the next 3 weeks!
2. Hyphenate yourself.
Okay, this was a weird concept for me. Education Week described the importance of renewing ourselves to help us renew our teaching over time. The article mentioned when educators have different passions and skills outside the hours in the classroom their teaching often becomes more dimensional.
I have done a lot of thinking about this and I would have to agree. When I opened myself up to my students and allowed them to get to know my outside interests I often had an easier time connecting with my students.
So here is my hyphenated self: educator-mom, educator-wife, educator-runner, educator-yogi, educator-fisher, eductor-reader, educator-friend, educator-techie – clearly there is room for me to grow here 🙂
3. Be your full self with your loved ones.
During the school year, our families often get a less patient, more overwhelmed version of ourselves due to how much we give to our students and the amount of work/commitments on our plate. Three years ago I had a realization that I wasn’t turning off work…ever. Even as I would be sitting and watching my daughter play or cooking dinner, or giving her a bath I always had my phone in my hand or the TV on. I made a conscious effort three years ago to unwind and unplug. This has made me much more mindful of the moments and time I have with my family. I will continue to live in the present as I spend time re-energizing myself with the people we love the most over the next three weeks.
4. Join a new tribe or two.
Yes, we are educators, it is easy to surround ourselves with other educators as our friends and in our social circle, we have similar passions, schedules, and beliefs; however it can be very refreshing and rejuvenating to experience the conversation and company of others outside our career. It might even provide new perspectives on our career from an “outsider”! So as I look to join a new book club, athletic group, or join a committee as a volunteer I encourage you to do the same and enjoy conversation outside of our students and our curriculum!
Teachers are notorious for taking care of everyone but themselves please enjoy the last 3ish weeks of summer spending time learning something new, spending time with friends (old and new) and being mindful of your family time. Enjoy!!
On a side note – As the topic of compassion fatigue and burnout is something I have become passionate about over the past 3 years, so much so that I helped co-write an Administrators’ Academy entitled, “Compassion Fatigue and Burnout: Is Your Staff At Risk?” – Coming to Kane ROE on November 19th – click here to register!
Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning