Yesterday I sat with a young student who was ready to cry. I was trying to teach the child a new skill and the child looked at me with big puppy eyes unready to learn. I said to the child, "You seem really tired. I know how difficult this can be." In the end, I wrote to the child's parent letting the parent know what happened and asking for a little help.
What the child didn't know is that I was well aware of the feelings. To me it seemed like the student simply needed a good brain break. All term this student has done extraordinary work and pushed beyond the expectations of all of the teachers. The child has been giving us 100% or more everyday, and the child is probably feeling exhausted.
I'm actually feeling quite the same. It's been a semester of incredible effort and challenge. I've learned a lot, but I can feel that my brain is simply filled to the brim and needs time to rest, relax, and reboot. Anyone in education knows that good brain work can be exhilarating, but it can also be exhausting. As I sit here today, I have about 1,000 good questions in my brain--questions I know how to research and learn about, but questions that take good time and process too. This is one reason why good strategic, collaborative process is essential in any organization--we simply can't do it alone.
I plan to be compassionate to the young child and to myself too. Like the child and the many colleagues who surround me, I've given the work good effort and time in the past months. It's time to focus on the routine for a while, and leave the study and intellectual work on hold for a few weeks. The vacation will be a good time to reboot for all of us.
Good teaching and learning requires a good pattern of learning, rest, and play--one without the other will not result in the promise possible. It's best that we model and lead this balance for ourselves and our students.