I loved reading about Angela’s summer-so-far and her summer plans. My summer-so-far hasn’t been as exciting in some ways (yet crazy in others), but it’s about to get there. For me, summer is a time to stop teaching, reflect on the teaching year I just had, prep for the next one, read a ton of books, and ideally, travel. In the seven years I’ve been in my job, I’ve only taught summer courses two or three times, and I think I’ve traveled every year except the summer of 2013 when I was on maternity leave.
That summer was also the only time I did zero work. In the years since, I’ve found that summer is a great time to put my creative energies into planning for the fall: my ideal the past couple of years has been to work in June and relax in July. I planned the same for this year. This is what the Summer of 2018 was supposed to look like:
- Take Kiddo to summer camp every day
- Use the camp hours (in June) to…
- Do a brief side-gig
- finish prepping logistics (assessments, standards, etc) for a new unit in a new course
- Prep lessons for the fall
- Clean my house, read books, write, etc., etc.
- Travel to England for a one-week seminar and a few days of extra sight-seeing (namely at the Imperial War Museum, for teaching purposes).
But best-laid plans and all that. About two weeks ago, the plan began unraveling. It’s not bad – it’s just different.
When did summer begin? I’m not sure. Maybe it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, when school let out for the year. Maybe it was May 31st, when we finished faculty meetings. Maybe it was June 2nd, when my son’s birthday party ended and I’d finished doing things like make games and cupcakes with Ancient Egypt themes.
Maybe it was the following Tuesday when the annual conference at my school ended, leaving me with lots of ideas about new approaches and ways of thinking about my teaching next year. The conference was amazing, and featured big names in education like Amy Burvall (talking about creativity and giving a few insights into her YouTube series, which you may have come across; if not, check out the French Revolution one. You’ll thank me for it) and Alexis Wiggins ,- she taught me all about Spider Web discussions, which I look forward to using.
It’s a little nebulous, as you can tell, but I was excited to dive in.
My son finished at his preschool the week before Memorial Day and moved on to summer camps for the season, starting at the place where he’d had preschool. From there, we planned to move him somewhere else for about six weeks, and the upshot is that it fell through, for a variety of reasons. This means that a week and a half ago I found myself starting to rethink my summer. Kiddo came with me to my side-gig for a week and a half (and did tremendously, by the way). Of course, I haven’t gotten hardly any work done as a result, but instead, I have gotten to play games with him, have lunches out with him at fun places, and live it up on my birthday last week at his favorite play place in town.
It was unexpected, but sometimes, reorienting your plans is just what you need. Two weeks in (from the plan change), I’ve realized this won’t be the exceedingly productive summer I thought I would have, but I think it will be something more.
I’m still about to head off on my big summer adventure, though, which serves to slice my summer in half. Later this week, I’ll fly to England for a two-week sabbatical (yes, really). I’m doing a one-week Oxbridge teacher professional development program at Cambridge on “Why History Matters”, then returning to London to spend some time at the Imperial War Museum.
(This is the plan, at least, but I’m also stopping by Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross on my way to Cambridge, so if I end up at Hogwarts instead, then that’s another story entirely.)
Beyond that, I’m not sure what the summer holds, and I’ve grown okay with that. It may not be the summer of work and thinking and writing that I’d envisioned, but I like to think it will be just the summer I need.