I came across this article in the weekly Marshall Memo that is quite fitting for this time of year. The title? “We’ve Said Goodbye to This Year’s Students. Now It’s Time to Take Care of Ourselves” included in Education Week Teacher. Teachers and other educators have spent the year attending to the needs of everyone they serve, while, often times, neglecting the needs of themselves. Summer vacation is a perfect time to turn the switch on this and attend to your needs. In the article, Arkansas teacher Justin Minkel believes summer is the time to ask yourself “Who are we when we’re not teaching?” and he has four strategies for success in answering this question:
- Become the learner instead of the teacher. Learn something new – something you may have always wanted to learn or something that has become a more recent interest of yours. “It takes curiosity, perseverance, and humility to learn a new skill,” he says. “The struggle and excitement of being a novice can deepen our empathy for our students, who are asked every day to attempt new and difficult things.”
- Hyphenate yourself. The way Minkel hyphenates himself is by seeing himself as “a teacher-dad and a teacher-writer…second identities like “reader,” “hiker,” or “friend,” impact who I am and who I keep becoming as a teacher.” Fundamentally, these hyphenations help students see their teachers as more than just a teacher. Students see you as a person, a human being, beyond the role of teacher.
- Be your full self with your loved ones. Teachers’ families (spouses and children) “often get a depleted version of us during the school week and year,” says Minkel. Teachers come home exhausted from a long day at school and, at times, lack the energy to attend to the needs of or be fully present with those they most love. Minkel suggests for us to use our summer vacation as the perfect opportunity to give our full self to our loved ones. I, for one, will be taking a trip with my son to Boston at the end of the month to visit my daughter on her birthday! What are your plans?
- Join a new tribe or two. “It can be rejuvenating to experience the camaraderie of a new cohort” Minkel describes. I know my children’s friends’ parents have varying careers and interests, so this cohort is a great mix for me. I look forward to joining the new tribe of my daughter’s college friends’ parents who come from wonderfully geographically diverse locations.
As the article closes, Minkel shares that “Most of us love what we do [but] That doesn’t change the reality that this job is hard. We need deep rest and renewal if we’re going to keep doing it well. His final suggestion when we are feeling overwhelmed by the job of teaching, is to remember that teaching is “the profession that makes all others possible.”
And finally, I cannot end my last blog of the school year without a video. So, to close, enjoy this summer vacation video from one of our favorites, Principal Brooks who asks the simple question: Which teacher are you? The RST, the HYT or the BOFT? If after viewing the short video, you are neither of these, create your own acronym for what type of teacher you are! “Look for these three types of teachers this summer and thank them for everything they do!”
I thank our BCS teachers for all they do! Have a happy summer becoming the learner instead of the teacher, hyphenating yourself, being your full self with your loved ones, and joining a new tribe or two!