As I was on my walk this morning listening to the power remix of “Hungry Like the Wolf” on Spotify, I started thinking about, what else, school.
I thought about whether I was brave and tech-savvy enough to start the year out with blogging and end with podcasting, I thought about what non-fiction gem could be our school-wide read for the year (Make it Stick?, Choice Words?, The Shallows?), I thought about whether or not I should add another Writers’ Cafe event to Mission Oak High School’s calendar, I thought about how lame it was that my little town of Tulare has no cool bookstore/coffee house - should we open one? - How much is the rent downtown? - I thought about how my butt was sore (from walking), I thought about how good a chocolate chip scone would taste right now etc. etc. etc.
I was planning - subconsciously and mixed with lots of other stuff - but I was planning. It started me thinking about how my other buddies in education “plan” during the summer. It varies wildly, just as their methods in the classroom do, so, for this blog I will make a list of all of my teacher-friends’ planning methods that I have come across in my first four weeks of summer. Hopefully, some with inspire you!
1. One is in Japan for eight weeks spending time with his wife’s family but also touring schools to see how some of their educational culture could be instituted in the Central Valley (the students bow in respect at the end of each lesson - whaaaaaat?!?!).
2. One binges on Netflix - “Orange is the New Black” is up first to be followed by “Pretty LIttle Liars” and “Supernatural.” She calls it her “pop culture research” so she can banter with teenage girls about PLL plotlines in the fall.
3. One hits as many actual conferences as possible up and down the state of California, visiting towns she has never seen and engrossing herself in “edtalk” so that when she is home, she can shut it off for awhile. She “compartmentalizes.”
4. One surfs, and surfs, and surfs, and surfs.
5. One flies across the country to read thousands of essays at the College Board’s AP Reading. She claims it’s “the best PD there is and I reconnect with my BFFs I’ve made there over the years.”
6. One reads young adult literature: book after book after book. City of Angels series, Ellen Hopkin’s drugs, sex, and rock and roll series, a John Green marathon, and any graphic novel she can get her hands on. She will get the right book in the right kid’s hands next year if it kills her!
7. One is in China with a group of passionate American teachers soaking in the power of the Great Wall, eating Peking duck, and wielding ancient swords with the locals. (I'm serious, the dude had a sword!)
8. One reads non-fiction from psychologists, sociologists, education gurus, and other smart people underlining and starring every connection to his craft while absorbing the salty air and listening to the rhythmic ocean waves massage the sands of Huntington Beach.
9. One spends as much time with her own three children as possible-taking them to art class, roaming the public library, making brownies, and even “playing school” at the kitchen table with a relaxing and lovely 3:1 ratio.
10. One plays on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram until their fingers bleed, allowing students to “friend her” now that they have graduated. This makes her feel like a kid again and also honors "a world her teens live in."
There are hundreds, possibly thousands more methods of summer “planning.” The one common denominator? Passion. Passion not only for teaching but passion for family, passion for video games, passion for reading, passion for travel.
Passion: discover yours and use it as your planning vehicle and everyone wins.