Re-Thinking a Few Things

It’s the end of the year, and with that, we are running into the usual pressures associated with a year of impending change.  For some reason, June gives educators an amazing amount of stress.  I was reviewing some posts from this time last year, and was amazed to find that there were odd similarities between what I was noticing then and what is happening now.

This summer is going to be an incredibly busy one, and an incredibly short one.  It has the feeling already of one that will be fleeting. If that is the case, I’d like to begin by setting a few goals for my own growth this summer:

  1. Read.  Here is the short list that I’ve put together for the summer:
    1. Readicide, by Kelly Gallagher
    2. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell
    3. Rethinking Homework, Cathy Vatterott
    4. Write Beside Them, by Penny Kittle
  2. Re-Organize.  A year in which I either ran or helped plan over 10 meetings a month can lead to a lot of paperwork and notes that need both organization and reflection.  Pulling all of that back together will take a good few days.
  3. Re-Focus.  As I indicated in the paragraphs above, the month of June has been crazy, but wit that crazy has come some good dialogue.  I’d like to take part of the summer to craft goals that I have for each of the departments I work with and the elementary schools I am involved in.  I’ve had many meetings this month where it was apparent that I am getting very little buy-in from the departments I work with.  As with everything in education, the factors that go into producing that are only partially controllable by me, but that which is under my control, I’d like to sharpen and hone.  I need to have goals regarding what I’d like to move towards with each of the departments, and then combine those goals with those of the members of the departments I work with.  A shared vision; yes, I think that might work.

There is probably more, but it’s getting light out, and the kids are waking, which brings me to another goal for the summer.  Leave work at work, and make the most of the daylight hours with my family.

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4 thoughts on “Re-Thinking a Few Things

  1. Thanks for the book recommendations. I’ll have to check them out. Currently I’m reading “Word Hard, Be Nice” – the story of the KIPP schools. Interesting so far.

    Your last sentence is the most compelling.

    1. Barry,

      I think you are totally correct about that last sentence. Although it was dashed off at the end of the piece even as my two-year old approached the table at which I was writing, it still maintained its poignancy.

      Very interested in your take on the Matthews\’ book.

  2. I enjoyed reading your reflections about summer. We are so lucky to work in a profession that allows us the luxury to “rev” ourselves up annually and enjoy the love of learning. I only wish that society would realize how our summers are really spent. A teaching career is just that, A CAREER!! The professionals I know are always working in some way or fashion during the summer. This summmer I am spending my time in grad school and participating in professional learning communities. The three categories you identified definately depict my summer as well. I think your comments will help me to better define to others how teachers spend their summers. As educators we need to articulate how our summers are spent to help the public understand we are professionals.

    1. Leighbo,

      I agree about our summers being a perfect chance to shift into another gear, one that allows us to focus on our own growth. While my summers are not as open as they used to be since I left the classroom, there still exists a different atmosphere in the summer. I am looking forward to sharing what I learn this summer, and hope you do as well.

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