Summer is (almost) here. For many teachers, July and August hold the promise of rest and rejuvenation. As we begin this season, I offer words of blessings for teachers.
May your summer be filled with armloads of extra time. Time to breathe. Time to sigh deeply. Time to sleep past 6:00 AM. Time to read a novel. Time to lay under the night sky to admire the constellations.
May your summer be a sweet reminder of your dedication to your students. Remember that you started teaching because you wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people. Remind your anxious spirit, that your students really do appreciate the hours you spent planning lessons, re-explaining the instructions, and marking essays. Marvel at their energy and their genuine eagerness to learn.
May your summer allow you to refresh your perspectives of your colleagues. Make a list of teachers who daily walked with you through the school hallways or lent a hand when the days were long and dark. Take time to thank the administrators and the janitors of your school; they also deserve your attention. Summer time away from colleagues gives you time to ponder these precious relationships.
May your summer hold long afternoons of just thinking quietly without need to answer 15 questions about the upcoming assignment. For two months, you will not be badgered with umpteen classroom interruptions, students’ persistent questions, or urgent administrative decisions. May the silence of summer help you to reframe how you respond to the many demands of the school year.
May your summer include some time to reflect on the delights of teaching. What topics did you enjoy teaching this year? What prompted you to spend extra hours on projects that energized you? What did you enjoy about your role as an academic mentor? When did your students spontaneously laugh out loud in the middle of class? Remember the “aw ah” moments this year when they “got it.”
May your summer offer opportunities for something totally different. Go fishing. Buy that ticket to Italy. Spend the afternoon with a blank canvas and a set of watercolors. Plant basil and chives. Nurture your creative side.
And when the first day of school rolls around in the fall, may you be refreshed and eager to enter into the fray again with a renewed personal spirit for the good of your students, for collaborative collegial work, and, ultimately, for the joy of teaching.
Have a good summer.
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