Slice of Life Tuesday:Summer rejuvenation

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Just as our school day was ending today, I chanced to see this message from Dr. Mary Howard dance across  my Twitter feed:

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It had been a long day, and I was still recovering from a nasty bout of the flu.  “Rejuvenation” was certainly a word which stood out right away…but Mary’s question stayed with me as I cleaned up our classroom and headed home from work.  It stayed with me as I logged on to Google classroom and finished up one more round of revision suggestions for my students as they wind down their multi genre writing pieces.  It is with me still, as I pack up my back pack for tomorrow’s school day:What commitment will you make to elevate your work in the coming year?”

It is hard to think of making anew a fresh new school year at the tail end of the old school year, when grading and filing and cleaning and saying goodbye are the order of the day.  I find myself looking longingly at pictures of our farm, my summer home, and doing just as my kiddos are wont to do: counting the days until summer is here at last, and I am there. Both my students and I definitely need some personal rejuvenation!

But,  I often find the seeds of summer professional rejuvenation in the routines of the last days of school: consolidating writing portfolios, evaluating reading journals, assessing the last writing pieces, composing the goodbye letters.   Each of these tasks reveal areas in which, if I’m paying attention and being honest, I can make commitments to elevate my work in the coming year.  Even as I celebrate the hard work we’ve done, and the distance we’ve traveled as a class, I can jot notes about what fell through the cracks or was not followed through.   I am out of teaching ideas and very low on teaching energy in these last days of school, but now is when the “what if?” and “why not?” and “maybe if?” questions begin to dart about in my weary head.  So, I make note of these, right now, as ways in which to explore a commitment to elevate my work in the coming year.

To that end I have summer reading and learning planned:IMG_4967

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which is a great way, really, to end the school year: looking backwards with affection and reflection, and looking forwards with anticipation and purpose.


20 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday:Summer rejuvenation

  1. Ah, it takes a great teacher to see the What if? in what is stellar work. And at the end of the year. And after recovering from the flu! Thank you for leading the way for this important work. You inspire.

  2. Your post reminds me of the hard work of teaching and how it physically exhausts as it energizes and how impossible it is to know teaching fro the outside. I loved Newkirk’s book. I find his writing inspires. I had occasion some years ago to be in contact with him as he requested to use something I wrote for one of his books. I fund him to be such a grand man,

    I love to follow lines of professional learning that cross beyond the borders of ‘school-informed’ texts to also include the arts, literature, and science and of course, place. I’m finishing the book, The Gene: An Intimate History. There are sections of this I would include in my teaching as the history of science is so entwined with our darker and brighter moments of humanity. I often follow the adage: 1 learning occasion that feels more directly connected to what I teach and an uncountable number that just are about learning.

    I hope you rest and deeply enjoy your farm. My goodness an early morning walk about on your farm might be the learning most important.

  3. Tara,
    Love your quote from Dr. Mary Howard! Work for the regular year ended yesterday and already I’m planning my own list of work . . . the learning necessary for ” looking backwards with affection and reflection, and looking forwards with anticipation and purpose.” THANKS!

  4. I would expect nothing more from you that to start thinking about more learning but I hope you will add some novels to that pile along with a comfortable hair and a glass of of ice tea that should be consumed outside at your farm. P.S. – outstanding roses.

  5. The seeds of summer professional rejuvenation ARE usually found in the final days of school, at least for me. Best wishes on your summer plans and I’m looking forward to reading more about your adventures at the farm.

  6. You are literally the most reflective teacher I have ever met. It’s completely inspiring. I love reading your work and being your friend. Can’t wait to see you this summer and talk about books and writing. xo

  7. I’m planning on doing a lot of reading this summer, too. Mine will spread my wings as a writer and I’m reading for pleasure as well. I hope you get all the things out of your summer reading that you hope to.

  8. I think many teachers reflect on the year and plan for the following year during the last few weeks of school. Hope you have lots of time to rejuvenate over the next few months.

  9. Love the last line: looking backwards with affection and reflection, and looking forwards with anticipation and purpose. So true and poetic! Look forward to hearing about your reflections and learnings this summer!

  10. Even in summer, a teacher’s mind is occupied with the “what if?” question. I know you will find great thoughts in those books, but also from being at such a beautiful and peaceful place. Let the summer begin!

  11. Your book pile and PD plan are inspiring. Finish the year with a celebration, rest plenty and enjoy your summer learning.

  12. I love the beginning of summer as I can look forward to this time for PD on my own time. We have some of the same books in our piles. I’m headed to Columbus Area Writing Project retreat tomorrow and I can’t wait! Enjoy Tara!

  13. I had a meeting today with my colleagues in gifted and we are planning for next year’s sixth grade enrichment. It will be here before I know it, but first… travel! I hope you will soon be sitting around with all of those books relaxing with a cup of coffee like me.

  14. I read your post early this morning and it has stayed with me all day. We have some of the same books in our stack. I love your last line “looking backwards with affection and reflection and looking forwards with anticipation and purpose.”

  15. It is such a blessing to be inspired by you, dear Tara. ❤️ My school year ended with a new edict about what will be allowed in our classrooms next year. There are many NOs. No personal lamps, or pillows unless the fire retarant tag remains for examples. AND more… but I thought of you and said to myself Tara brings fresh flowers into her classroom every week I could do that, too! You help keep me thinking of possibilities and this post is another example!
    You are, also so kind and encouraging in your comments to my writing , as well. Someday I hope our paths cross in real time! Enjoy the farm!

  16. For someone who wasn’t interested in thinking about summer and school in the same sentence you certainly pulled it around with some big ideas. Enjoy the farm, I enjoy seeing your photos over on instagram.

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