Confession: I think my “Summer Pile” is trying to kill me!

photo credit: ohsarahrose

So every school year, I have this invisible pile in the corner of my mind labeled “Do in the Summer.” You know, “THE summer,” that inevitable teacher-mecca of unrestrained, unfettered, never-ending free time? Yeah. Right.

Although some less attuned may believe this exists for teachers, I know it to be a myth. Or do I? When I finally pull out that pile of “to-dos” and examine the actual time remaining around

  • catching up on a sleep debt of scary proportions
  • seeing family and friends that I’ve neglected
  • writing curriculum for the seemingly never-ending new classes
  • revising curriculum for the seemingly never-ending new standards
  • filing a year’s worth of paper that has piled on my desk
  • squeezing in a quick vacation travel to a favorite spot
  • tending the 6 raised bed gardens I happily planted in the spring

…yeah, I logically realize that I might not actually have time to read 100 books, rewrite that unit, learn that new technology platform, create a library of grammar tutorial videos, and create 20 new playlists for my sadly underdeveloped iTunes library. But stubbornly, I cling to the myth that all of this is possible, refusing to take the axe to anything in my summer pile. So maybe I’m not too far from that uniformed public when thinking about my summer. Um, scary.

Ok, time to face the facts (yadda, yadda, cliche, cliche). Dear Axe, welcome to my crazy version of the world. You may just be my salvation and sanity. Please do your dirty work while I try not to watch and cringe at the notion that I can’t do EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

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The Axe has spoken:

Focus on these books. You know you are passionate about leadership and innovation. Hone in on that and ignore that 1,000 other titles’ siren call.

To Sell is Human

Innovator’s DNA

The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside our Schools

Trusting Teachers with School Success

Focus on these projects. Some of them have been on your list for months. Time to stop procrastinating:

  • Creating a reading unit for Animal Farm incorporating QR codes (remember your post from like 3 months ago? Yeah…well you need to happen this coming year, for SURE!)
  • Creating a parent engagement plan. This was an area you marked as “needs improvement” for your teacher evaluation. Even though you’ve been doing the minimum to keep admin, parents, and yourself happy, it’s time to step up your game and see what these parents can offer to your classroom.
  • Dig into the different ways Socratic Seminars can enhance your classroom authenticity, engagement, and deeper learning. (Use these videos from the Teaching Channel to help!)
  • Create a Google Calendar for guest speakers to visit (physically or virtually) your classroom to share expertise. You are so fortunate to know some AMAZING people. Why don’t you invite them to share their learning with your students? Everyone wins when Mrs. C’s voice becomes one of many experts in the classroom.

Stop doing your hair in the summer. No one cares, it’s hot, it’s a pain, and oh, no one cares.

Have fun! Here’s how:

  • Create a “best-of” playlist with your favorite people. Rent a convertible  Listen that list the whole way to the beach and back. Make a memory!
  • Go on a Facebook fast. Do the F2F thing for a while.
  • Take day trips with that awesome husband of yours to do nerdy things like have photo contests.

Thanks Axe. I may need you again in September when my “School Projects” pile comes out of the closet to attack me.

5 thoughts on “Confession: I think my “Summer Pile” is trying to kill me!

  1. Just a note: I’d suggest reading more than just in the field in which you’re passionate. . . not because of the (very real) possibility of finding more passions, but because learning often occurs on the borders between things.

    A more articulate person would have a great example, but the best that comes to mind is reading about gardening and saying something profound like ‘Leadership is more like fertilizing than weeding.’ But, I just pulled that out of an unmentionable orifice, so that’s not REALLY what I mean.

    1. Toby,

      Point well taken. Many nonfiction books I read aren’t actually about education or teaching specifically, but more are in the field of social science and leadership. Example: My spring reading included Quiet by Susain Cain about the differences between introverts and extroverts and The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg which explained how habits are formed and why they are so powerful. So although I tend to gravitate toward the social sciences, they aren’t necessarily all about leadership or schools. However, your point is still valid and insightful that “learning often occurs on the borders between things.” I’ll keep that in mind for my fall reading 🙂

      What are you currently reading that has allowed you to make those cross-content connections?

      1. Na, my current foray into diet hasn’t yet led to any connections, but it’s a new direction for me. My excursions into computer science really have been fruitful as far as thinking about processes. The connections between how you tell you do it yourself really explain a lot of the programmer personality quirks you might consider stereotypes.

  2. That’s quite the list but ambitions give us something to reach for. Looking forward to the end-of-summer reflection post to see how far you got! (P.S. Nobody really does care if you do your hair or not….I carry out this philosophy more than is socially acceptable, perhaps;)

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