You Matter: Rediscover Your Passion by Finding Time for You
By Scott Fuller, Next Generation Learning Coordinator for Colorado Springs School District 11
Undoubtedly, you've seen cartoons like this posted somewhere. The teacher who looks like she has been to hell and back all in the name of educating your child. Educators are without a doubt some of the hardest working and most dedicated people I know. However, should we accept that the norm is for us to be so weary and beaten down by the end of the year that we need two months off to recover? I refuse to believe that we can't all rediscover the passion and enthusiasm for our craft that we had when we decided to walk this path.
Recently, I was working with a group of teachers who were beginning to plan for August. Walking out of the building, after a full day of planning, I heard, "I can't wait to get back to school!" Hearing this at the end of a school year gave me goosebumps! In fact, I have heard this from more educators in the past month than ever before. It's why I do what I do: help people get excited about learning. Much like our students, I want teachers to be kicking down the door to get into school, not to escape it.
So how does one break free of the shackles of exhaustion and get excited about school during the home stretch and throughout the summer? Here are a few tips:
- Focus on the positive. It may seem simple, but there is no shortage of blogs, memes, and articles that focus on what's wrong with education today. Commit to following positive influences who offer solutions like Edutopia, Mind/Shift, or some of your favorite local educators and hashtags (mine include @mission_monday, @CraftingHeroes, @GregoryandDenby, @AlexCEICarter, @MrsEschler, @ckesselheim, @NextGenLC, and #COLchat)
- Dare to dream. Allow yourself to be idealistic again! What could you do without the barriers? Unless we dream big, we will never be able to begin to make incremental adjustments that will help us reach that ideal vision eventually (or something close to it). Anyone can complain, be solution oriented.
- Find your voice! Tweet the positive, share positive messages and ideas on Facebook, focus conversations about education on the positive and on what you can do to effect change, or blog (this is my attempt to be better at blogging this summer).
- Experiment with different learning environments. Whether it be a patio somewhere, your couch, a park, or another location, mix it up and discover how, when, and where you do your best learning (then apply the thinking to your learners).
- Build in a bit of "me time." Take time for yourself this summer! Sleep in a little, catch a sunrise or sunset, hike more, socialize more, or explore your non-education-related passions! Summer is a great time to create habits that will help you keep perspective in the toughest parts of your school year.
Above all else, reconnect with why you wanted this job in the first place. Rediscover the passion. Your colleagues and students will find it contagious!