Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Welcome Back to School, Teachers

We head back to school this week. It will be the start of my 27th year of teaching.

Given I have a 20th anniversary around the corner, AND a rather big decade birthday. I'm not sure how I'm able to speak in such large numbers! Sometimes it feels like I've been teaching forever, and sometimes it feels as if it should only be my 3rd or 4th year of teaching. Time, can indeed, be mind-blowing!

It seems as if the  I've been seeing those Facebook back-to-school pictures of my friends' kids during the whole month of August. Some parts of the country go early, some go late. It makes our near-Labor Day back-to-school season seemingly late and fortunate. (I know my kids are grateful for the fact that its this week versus a few weeks before!) But I also know folks who don't go back until the last Labor Day hurrah.

Between my own back-to-school meetings, I've been listening to copious amounts of Vicki Davis' "10 Minute Teacher Podcast."My episodes had been stockpiling! I love this podcast as it's daily but only bite-sized bits of inspiration and new ideas. It's a quick listen, and there's always a great take away. It's been good at getting me mentally prepped fro the school year ahead. It always is a little melancholy, saying goodbye to summer. This year, I was doubly in need of mental prep as I have had to take a 2 week hiatus from my backyard pool (aka my backyard Zen place) right before heading back to school due to a minor dermatology procedure. [I've got another week until the stitches come out and I can go back in. I am indeed giddy with anticipation!] My biggest hope is that the water stays warm and I can squeeze in as many days as possible here in the month ahead before fall fully settles in.

Ergo... I've been soaking up Vicki Davis' podcast instead of my pool lately. I was struck by one episode where Vicki talks about how summer is a healing time after our school year--akin to birthing a baby. We've spent the 9 months prior to summer doing essentially the same thing--birthing a classroom community of learners where we take on their troubles, their celebrations, and their academic, social, and emotional triumphs and struggles as well. Just like new mothers, we need our bodies (and minds) to rest and recuperate. We need to sleep while the "baby" is sleeping. For teachers, that's our summer. We don't expect new mothers to bounce right back after giving birth. Teaching is exhaustive in a different way from other professions due to the degree and times we open our hearts and give to others on a daily basis. It's different from other professions. Not better, not worse, just different in a way many don't understand, unless they know, love, or are a teacher!

My hope (here at the end of August) is that you teachers out there have had a restorative summer and are ready to bound into an exciting and adventurous school year ahead. That you worked through the decompression session right after getting out of school (it takes a bit to shift into summer mode), that you got all your appointments in, and that you tackled the items you never can quite get done during the school year (especially around the house). But again, to quote Vicki Davis, "we are human beings, not human doings," so I hope you had time to just chill out, have fun, laugh, sleep, get away, connect with those important to you, read books, spend time in nature, and just "be." All of these things are vital to carve out time for during the school year too--and not just on weekends.

(These things are also all the same things I need to remember mid-October when enmeshed in all the craziness of school and calendars and kid sporting events and more!)

Here are some of my favorite 10 Minute Teacher Podcast episodes--may the help to inspire you to make the most of your first month (and more) of school. Likewise, may they be a welcome listen on those hard days we all have! Cheers to your new year and all that you will birth and build--in yourself, your students, your schools, and your home.

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