I threw this topic out on Sunday afternoon when I saw a message from Kevin asking what we were going to write about this week.
“How do we use summer to refuel and recharge?”
Seemed like an easy enough topic to consider.
Except when I sat down to write, the first thing I thought of was how I felt like my teachers probably recharged much like Maureen Stapleton did in “The Electric Grandmother” – which just goes to show how impressionable our minds and fantastical our imaginations are at age 7.
I’m older now (just a bit) and I have lived the life of a teacher for better than a decade and I know that recharging is absolutely necessary all year long, but summer affords us more time to do that.
During the school year, most of what I get time to do is read whenever I can. I also do my fair share of binge watching something on Netflix while I’m working on something that doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking – cooking, folding laundry, filing papers (or, wishfully thinking, being on the treadmill).
This summer, it’s different. I usually do more reading (of course – and some of it happens while hanging out in the pool) and often my husband and I pick a show to binge watch together after the boy goes to bed, but I definitely notice more time to do stuff with my guys.
This summer I have definitely gotten in plenty of family time – even though I wasn’t home with them all last week. One reason is that we have gotten completely hooked on playing tabletop games. Part of it is actually that we have found others who like to play with us. Part of it is being introduced to new games. It’s been a blast! We’ve played SushiGo, Legendary, Paperback, Love Letter, SmashUp, Smallworld, Q-Bitz, Quirkle, Ticket to Ride, Dutch Blitz, Seven Wonders, and HIVE. Yesterday B & I took my mother-in-law to a game cafe and played Machi Koro and Lanterns. It’s relaxing and fun and I don’t think this obsession with games is going anywhere any time soon.
Another reason I have had more time with the guys is that both of them came to camp with me – we spent a week together directing an intergenerational camp at Hartman Center and then followed that up with a trip to Parma, MI, for nErDcamp MI. We’re looking forward to another short trip together before going back to school – this time with the grandmothers exploring DC.
I know my reading life changes with summer – I am drawn to read more professional books to mine for ideas and strategies that I can use when we head back. I read voraciously – some days managing to devour more than a book a day. I look forward to sharing the titles currently stacked up all over my house with my students when we get back to school.
Along with all of the reading professional development, I do my best to get in other learning opportunities. In addition to heading to nErDcamp MI, I got to teach a grad class at PSU-Harrisburg. I learned at least as much as an instructor as I think I would have as a student. (I also learned on a human level that there is a maximum amount of stuff you can attempt to do at once. I will be making all kinds of alerts on my phone to remind me of this before plans get made for next summer!) I have been working in listening to podcasts (including the Book Love Foundation Podcast Summer Study Session and The Yarn, of course) and following Teachers Write! even though I haven’t actually really participated much. Yet. I still have a few weeks where my summer finally gets slightly less hectic that I can post something that I have been working on.
I will say that I do recharge a bit by cleaning. This year I cleaned out my old room and moved to a new one – resulting in an opportunity to really decide what needs to be kept and what can be chucked. I am trying to do some of that at home – though it often looks like I’m making a bigger mess rather than cleaning out. I’m hoping to get rid of a ton more things in the next week – moving books back to my classroom, weeding out the things that are jammed in my office or closets that I don’t want or need to keep any longer and hopefully finding them new homes. The urge to get rid of clutter and to streamline everything from my space and my routines happens every summer.
I haven’t done a huge amount of exercising, but I know that it helps recharge me. I need to head to the gym or dust off the treadmill and treadmill desk here and find the motivation to get that done. I have been watching my friend Sarah post about her morning exercise and other friends are doing C25K so I’m feeling a bit of positive peer pressure here to get off my butt and do something.
Right now I feel like summer is slipping away so fast. Next week will be the magic time where my brain ticks over into prep mode. There will be textbooks and syllabi and documents and sticky notes everywhere as I work on making adjustments to my plans for the year based on what I learned this summer and my notes from last year. But this, too, is part of that recharging. The preparation keeps me focused during the school year and on top of what needs to get done next.
What do you do to recharge over the summer, teacher friends?
Check out what Kevin had to say at http://www.kevinenglish.net/2016/07/recharging.html