Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's Summer Vacation: Stop Planning?

Here's the dilemma, it's summer vacation yet many teachers are planning, asking questions, setting up their rooms, preparing lessons, and communicating with colleagues and leaders.

Yet, it's summer vacation and many teachers are vacationing with family, taking some time to read a good book, engaging in hobbies, and having fun.

In the old days, teaching was a lot different. The doors closed for summer vacation and you rarely heard a peep from colleagues or leaders until that late August introduction letter that noted a few changes in staff and schedules. There were no scores to meet, few deadlines to worry about, and only a few leaders who often were teachers at the same time. Our day was shorter, the curriculum less structured, fewer changes year to year, and a steady pace.

Was the old better than the new or is the new better than the old? I can't say as there's been so much change not only in schools but all around schools too. Should we not communicate and share throughout the summer--that's hard to say too because only two days after I enter school in the fall, I'll start spending most of my time each day with 20plus children--the better planned I am, the better job I can do. Yet, I don't want to overwhelm or trouble colleagues who are finally having a few days to spend with loved ones at the beach, mountains, overseas or anywhere else they choose.

It's summer vacation and the reality is that we all make different choices as far as when we work, how we work, and when we play--tech access makes those choices easier than ever before.  I also know after many years of teaching no matter how you choose to play and plan, when the school year starts, you're ready because the children wouldn't accept anything less.

Hence, play or plan or a little of both, my recommendation is if you want to play, turn off the computer or better, leave it at home, and escape with friends and family, and if you want to plan go ahead, email the questions, prep the room, attend the workshops, and write your plans.  It's not an either-or proposition, it's a do what you can when you can world.

And about the past vs. the present.  I try to bring forward as many of the wonderful practices from the past, but I also try to adopt and create new and wonderful practice for today too.  Again, it's not one or the other, it's a blend of what's best for the children you teach.