When the school year is over, it’s time to push back and do something for yourself. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t think at all about prepping for the coming term. Just be good to yourself as you go about it. Learn a new skill, explore a new subject, take foreign language classes, enroll in a karate class — expand your horizons, and you will find a thousand ideas to help you bring new life to the classroom when you return in the fall. The truth is that every experience you have adds to the wellspring that you draw from as a teacher.
Borrow from the classic author’s philosophy — that every experience holds the kernel of a story — and acknowledge that the activities you do this summer to refresh and restore mind, body and spirit will become the basis for the lessons you prepare as the next school year begins. Those experiences will also renew your enthusiasm even if you don’t specifically call upon foreign words or martial arts routines in the classroom.
Whether you travel — in reality or though the pages of books — whatever you do and whatever you learn can provide ideas to enhance your teaching in the fall. So, go ahead and indulge yourself. Jump into the water, so to speak, with both feet, and do something purely for yourself.
The Art of Storytelling
Actor/director Robert Redford was introduced as Colby College’s commencement speaker in 2015 as “someone who knows the power of artful storytelling.” His address has been cited as one of the best of the year, but the message is simple. He spoke about hope, but he also spoke about making a difference in the world by “retelling the story in a new way.”
That’s a message that resonates just as much with parents and teachers as with students. Think about it. By taking the time to rest, refresh and regroup this summer, you will have an abundance of new stories to tell in the fall, new experiences to share, new resources to draw from, and new lessons to teach. The lessons will be pertinent whether you tell of your struggles or of your achievements!
In Redford’s words:
“Be bold. Don’t fear failure. Take risks.”
He, of course, was talking to soon-to-be college graduates, but the lesson applies to everyone in every stage of life. Being effective at what you do stems from being interesting — and interested — as who you are. Use the summer to become all of that, and more.