Take a deep breath, fellow educators. Most of you have completed your school year in the last few days. I know some of us have a few more weeks to work, others have report cards to do, and maybe even some school days left. At some point, there are summer days ahead for you to relax, recharge, and refresh. Moments with friends and family await as you enjoy time away from school.
But…before you go into full summer mode, I encourage you to do these 3 things. This will help you end the year with an exclamation mark and not a comma.
1. Reflect – Head back into your empty classroom or office for no more than an hour. Put two pieces of paper in front of you. On one write “celebrations” and on the other “challenges.” Now is a perfect time, since the demands of students and parents are gone but memories of the school year are still fresh. This exercise may make you laugh, cry, or just provide quality time for thought. In today’s society, we are too often forced to move from one thing to the next and we miss such an important step, reflection. Write on each page, as much as you need to, and stick it in your desk. Come back and view them in August to bring you additional perspective.
2. Show appreciation – Over the course of this school year, I’m sure several people had a profound impact on you. Those could have been students, staff, or parents. At times, they may have been an ear to listen, offered words of advice, led your professional learning, or just been there as support. Send a text, write an email, or a hand-written note to those people if you have not yet done so.
3. Plan forward – Grab a sticky note and write down an idea or two. I’m talking about those innovative ideas that you’ve kicked around for awhile but for some reason just haven’t been able to make them happen. Write those down and take them home with you. Put that sticky note somewhere you will see it every now and then. I want you to have it in the back of your mind so you can continue to ponder the obstacles and work through them mentally. We always have a couple of amazing ideas floating around that we just need to keep thinking through.
Finally, thank you. Thank you for committing this past year to the greatest profession there is.