I recently came across a fellow teacher blogger who picks a theme to follow every summer. You see, as teachers we have roughly two months to complete the following:
-this thing called relaxation that most of us are not very good at
-spend time with our family
-complete college courses or professional development so that we are the best we can be for your families
-attempt to plan and prep. And then plan and prep some more.
-ORGANIZE all of those prepped materials
-research new curriculums and ideas for the following school year
-count down the days until we are back in the classroom and can implement all of the exciting new ideas we found over the summer
Summer is an important time for teachers. We need that time to re-charge, but we also need that time to WORK and to LEARN. So that at the end of the school year, we can feel confident that we provided our students with the tools they needed to succeed.
But, I digress. I read about this idea for a summer “theme.” Every summer this teacher picks a theme to shape her days. It’s mostly for fun but it also helps give her a sense of calm when thinking about the numerous things that teachers strive to complete over the break. I decided to give this whole summer theme thing a try. But what to pick as my summer theme? When thinking back over the last school year, I would say my theme was “fake it till you make it.” Literally. Being a first year teacher in a new community, with a two-year old was… Busy. And hard. I honestly did not feel like I had a handle on my work load until about February (no joke). I spent endless hours in my classroom on the evenings and weekends familiarizing myself with a new (to me) curriculum, researching best-practice management strategies, creating hands-on, engaging centers to go with the curriculum materials. Which all first-year teachers do. But you don’t understand the craziness that is first-year teaching until you’re in the thick of it. All that said, it was also an incredible year and I am so happy I was able to experience it in the place I did with some amazing people by my side.
SO the theme for this summer. Relaxation? Self care? Maybe exercise? Running? Perhaps I should focus on getting outside more… Summer of hiking? Gardening? Or should my focus be next school year? Summer of prep! (let’s be real- every summer from here on out will be the summer of prep).
In the end I decided to kind of combine all of those ideas and make this- the Summer of Serenity. After this last year I need some time to slow down, calm my mind and body, and regain my sense of self. It was a beautiful but challenging year for many reasons, and this summer is the perfect time to be more patient with myself and others and to allow myself the time to just- breathe. I will take the time to re-charge and re-fresh, de-clutter my mind, body, home and classroom, practice acceptance, and continue to give thanks and acknowledge the good in my life.
We practice mindfulness in the classroom. Mindful breathing, mindful listening, mindful learning. However, I find that the second our intentional practices end, we immediately revert back to our fast-paced routines. In the “Summer of Serenity,” I will also vow to be mindful of my time, of my surroundings, and of my ability to be present.
So here we go! 2017- The Summer of Serenity. 🙂
What will your summer theme be?!