Summer is my favorite time to re-examine my passion. The school year has come to a close, the day-to-day demands of the school calendar have subsided, and it may even signal a change of schools, job, or a move. Whatever your personal situation, these three tips will help make your summer, and your personal life, sizzle: Reflect, Reassess, and Renew.
1. Reflect on the Year
Think back on all the things you have done the past year. Did you remain true to your passion, did your passion change, did you do the best you could with your abilities at the time? Think of the successes, the challenges, and the outcomes. Reflect on who you helped, and who helped you. Examine opportunities won and wasted. Don’t get down if everything didn’t turn out as planned. In the grand scheme of life, this past year wasn’t the beginning or the end of anything, it was just the middle of your journey. There will be more opportunities to succeed and to screw up – so don’t take yourself too seriously. I’m betting you made a huge difference – to students, colleagues, friends, and family.
2. Reassess What Worked
Remember, as an educator you can never know where your influence begins or ends. But summer can be a time to reassess your perceived impact. As educators, we should be held accountable for impacting student achievement. We really can and do make a difference when we use evidence-based practices. Though we are rarely the sole decision-makers, we need to take ownership for those in our circle of influence. Maybe we can’t make policy changes in our school or district, but we can model best practice to our students and colleagues. Maybe we can’t change the politics of universities or states, but we can stand up for what we know is right – and share knowledge and truth with others. Reassess what worked and recommit to staying true to your integrity.
3. Renew Your Spirit
All work and no play can make Jack or Jill a dull boy or girl. Go ahead and take time off from work and take a vacation from email and your overly connected world. Your body, mind, and sole will thank you. Rediscover the balance in life between work and family/friends/hobbies that everyone says is so important to maintain, but most of us continually struggle trying to achieve. Stop and smell the flowers, watch a sunset, or go fly a kite – literally! When you return, it will be easier to convince yourself that life is far too short to be miserable. Then ask yourself, “What is my Passion?”
I’ve recently experienced a job change. It caused me to reexamine my passion. Guess what? I still love to teach, I still love to build the capacity of educators to help students succeed, and I am still passionate about sharing the good news about bad behaviors! Expect to keep hearing from me for a long time.
What is your passion? Share it with me.