Skip to main content

Summer Manifesto

Tomorrow at noon I will be officially on summer vacation. To say that I am excited to be on break would be an understatement. (See here for an end-of-year reflection where I try to come to terms with my feelings surrounding this very challenging school year.) At the same time, the end of the school year is always bittersweet. There is the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with having spent an average of 180 days of the year with students and adults in a very closed environment that often breeds the worst and the best in all of us. Then, there is the anticipation of renewal as we look forward to the summer months full of days without having to be regulated by an alarm clock. Yet, the truth is that many of us may still get up at the crack of dawn to attend to graduate work, personal and/or professional writing, or just to steal a few minutes of peace before everyone else in the house wakes up; this is not much different from what happens in my house during the school year.

The summer is always over way too quickly for my taste. It seems that September rolls around before I've had a chance to get into a routine that feels comfortable. I end up with a pile of books I intended to read, still unread. I have appointments that I planned to make that end up getting pushed to the fall. My "to do" list of projects barely has a scratch on it.

So, my new goal this summer is to take one day at a time and to try to enjoy that moment to the fullest. I will have some projects to work on but I won't bathe myself in disappointment when I find that I couldn't finish all ten projects and that, of the 20 books I had lined up, I only read two or three. Instead, I pledge to take each day as it comes and to do as much as I am able without getting frustrated, disappointed, or anxious. I'll remind myself that, ultimately, I am on vacation, a well-deserved one at that, and I will carve out some time each day so that I don't forget this simple fact.

So, there you have it. My summer manifesto, of sorts. What's yours?

Posted to The Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Students Plan for a Day of Learning

This is the third in a series of blog posts about strategies I use to help my students take ownership of their learning. The first post was about class meetingsThe second post was about giving kids opportunities todetermine their own writing and reading plansevery Friday afternoon. (Coming soon is the fourth post in this series about using student surveys to provide feedback about the classroom.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Yesterday I felt more independent than ever because I had to tell myself what to do." - 5th grade boy
It did not come as a surprise that my students embraced the idea of planning their learning for an entire day. That is what being autonomous and self-directed is all about and what we all desire to be in our day-to-day experiences. Allowing students to create their own schedules for learning, albeit conditioned by specific parameters (reading, writing, math, sc…

The Teacher I Want to Be

The
I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal. 

I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. 
Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…

Searching for Balance

I have been doing a lot of soul searching over the last couple of days. 
And, I've come to the conclusion that I must change my attitude - shift my stance - so I can assume a new perspective. So that I am more aligned with what's important and may add value to my life.  
Focusing on the negative is not making me stronger or healthier. In fact, I am often stressed because I worry a lot about unimportant things. I obsess over situations out of my control. I dismiss positive experiences that would help lift my spirits and align my focus towards what's important. 
I need a distraction from my own thoughts.
I need balance in my life. Not because I work hard to prepare my classes. Not because I read a lot of professional literature. Not because I wrote a lot this summer and will continue to do so now that school has started. But because I have been obsessing on the wrong things. Mostly, I obsess about what someone said or did and what it says about me as a teacher. I obsess about …