The Chaos Before the Calm #sol19
August 13, 2019
Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon in our traditional pre-fall book club meeting. Once a year, five of us get together having read a ridiculous romance novel, have lunch, and talk over our summers. It’s always great fun. Silly, sweet catch-up. One question inevitably come up near the end of our time together. What are you going to do before you go back?
Usually, I can say a quick answer, go to Martha’s Vineyard, go to a ball game, even one more home project. Yesterday, I realized that I’ve already shifted into my ‘school‘ head without even noticing. I quickly said, some interviews, a meeting with the other literacy specialists, new teacher training… My retired friend called me on this answer. No, she said, what are you going to do in the remains of your glorious summer?
I stopped and instead of looking ahead at the two weeks before school starts, I glanced in the rearview mirror. What had I accomplished? I thought of the books I have read. Dinners, lunches, day trips, dog physical therapy. What was that thing that I still want to do? Perhaps in this quiet summer, I have done it all. Maybe, this year I won’t think of it as the end.
What if this year, I continue to give myself space to enjoy life even during the school year? What if I actually create that elusive work-life balance? What if someone asks me if I relaxed this summer and then gives me that skeptical look like she knows me, I’ll answer, I always take time to relax. Truth is, I think I do.
Sometimes, I binge watch TV. Yesterday, I watched a night full of The Food That Built America. Full disclosure, I was thinking about Milton Hershey, Heinz, and Marjorie Post and how I could work them into a biography project, but I also enjoyed every minute of the fascinating series, googling details as I watched.
Sometimes, I read picture books or kid novels or chick lits. Full disclosure, when I read these, I’m thinking about coaching points, author’s craft, new text sets, post-it note reviews, and book talks. The books are still fun to read and I enjoy every minute of them.
Sometimes, I swipe through social media. Full disclosure, I read literacy blogs, follow other coaches and teachers on Instagram, and read the TCRWP pages on Facebook. I forward pictures and quick ideas to others I know will like them. I share posts from my virtual PLN and new things I have discovered. It doesn’t feel like work, it feels like growth.
Sometimes, I make lists or reminder stickies, or full length musings, full clearing of ideas about a topic. Truthfully, these lists and reminders don’t stress me, they help me sleep at night. A little forethought and organizations reduces my often daily rush.
Sometimes I actually do legitimate work outside the normal work day. I plan on my porch. I take notes on my patio. I arrange book bins at my kitchen table. I take notes at stop lights. I wear yoga pants and an old sweatshirt. I pet my dog absentmindedly. I get something to eat and drink when I want. When the ideas come to me, I have found that it’s best to give into it at the moment. Again, I sleep better.
So as I move into the fall, I can honestly say, I did have a relaxing summer. In my head I’ll add, and I’m going to have a relaxing fall as well.
I write in community with an amazing group of writers led by Two Writing Teachers.