I love summer! As a teacher it has always been a time of rejuvenation and fun. Teaching takes its toll on a person in the course of a year and, as much as I love the calling, the job can wear you out. Anyone who thinks teachers are overpaid have never done the job, that or they didn’t do it well. As a teacher you are on all the time. Whether “on” means lecturing new information to the class, working independently with students or coaching a team, the job is demanding. That’s why the summer is so deserved and so necessary. Summer allows teachers to fill their tank again and come back to the job keen and refreshed. Our kids deserve that.
One of the biggest highlights for me in summer is to be able to choose the books that I want to read. No more strictly educational reform books but rather the types of read that you can’t put down. I am not suggesting that Hattie, Gardner and Davies are not brilliant authors, but they can weigh a little heavy at times. The reading I am talking about is that literary candy that really allows the brain to relax, acquire and not need to work extremely hard. It’s like watching a comedy movie – fun but not life altering.
So what does this have to do with teaching you ask? I think we may need to remember this down time as we teach. Once in a while when we immerse our students in heavy thinking, requiring critical thought and the ability to alter preconceived notions, we may need to hold off and allow the brain to process. The brain, especially a brain like mine, needs process time. A little time for the thinking to sink in and mix with previous knowledge and understanding. I remember one particular Master’s class I took. The professor challenged so much of what we did and what we thought that I walked away exhausted. So much of what I thought was good practice had been called to task, I was done – completely. I went home and hit the bed – hard. A week later I went back to the class but the exhaustion was gone. I had given myself the much needed process time and I felt ready for more.
This summer I encourage you all to have downtime; read the books you want, watch trashy B grade films and get outside. Recharge those batteries. When you get back to school though, remember how refreshed you feel and remember that sometimes the students in your care feel the same exhaustion you felt in June and just need to relax and allow the brain to have a bit of time to process. It may cement deeper learning.
Have a great summer!
Keep on learning!