This post is week 7 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

Professional Learning

Check-in on where you are in your summer learning journey and your overall professional journey.

But first, a song about summer: it’s almost through.

“We’ve been having fun all summer long … but summertime is almost gone.”

I continue to read through the many books about mathematics, pedagogy, cultural awareness and sensitivity in the classroom, and more. Many times I share quotes on social media; occasionally I write a review for my blog. I find that writing is an important part of my professional learning as we teachers are not vessels to be filled, but painters facing a canvas. We have learned from masters, we have learned from the mistakes of beginners, we have suffered from the abuse of self-appointed experts who would never dare to pick up a paintbrush themselves, but our learning is never complete until we begin to paint our own pictures.

I am soldiering through the online PDs I must do and want to do.

Florida used to require teachers to write an Individual Professional Development Plan. I’m not sure if the state still does, but my district continues to require it. We call it the ‘ippy-dippy.’ A year or so ago, the district decided they didn’t like the sound of that. They now admonish us that we should say, “EYE-PEE-DEE-PEA.”

Of all the foolish things a district will try to intimidate veteran teachers about, that one deserves an honorable mention.

But I digress.

I have not done my usual activities over the summer. I have done the minimum that I must (analyze test scores), grind away at PD that I won’t have time for when the school bells ring, and try to figure out why my district threw half of its high school mathematics curriculum away in favor of free internet sources when said sources have not delivered on their promises.

Although the bathing suits won’t meet dress code, doesn’t the rest of the visuals depict well the annual safari teachers go through every year? The play list will move on, enjoy.

So where am I on my professional journey? The last school year was tough, very hard. Discretion will prevent me from discussing it further. But I needed some time away.

Last night, for the first time this summer, I finally felt the last of the tension and stress drain away. I’m ready to go back.

That is how I would like to end this post. I have five more years until retirement arrives at the last. I really can’t check out until then. But, what would I do in retirement? I hope to continue my service in my city’s public schools as a volunteer math interventionist, working with struggling students one, two, or three at a time. We don’t have interventionists in my district; we know we need them, but the money isn’t there.

But this summer’s journey has also pointed out the importance of teacher self-care. We have to stop killing ourselves.

Take care of yourself, teachers. Make those doctor appointments, leave the stress in the building when you go home, love your significant other and your family. Dead doesn’t help anyone and no one will engrave it on your tombstone.

Grumpy Old Teacher is sure that Hot Lunch Tray already has the last prompt in mind for Week 8, but still is going to recommend that it be about self-care.

Teachers, how do you take care of your physical, medical, mental, and emotional health during the school year?

3 thoughts on “Week Seven: Summer Is Ending

  1. Gregory, I feel you. I may have 10 years left in me. This past year, I started collecting resources for teachers, and I house them here:

    The biggest way I take care of myself during the school year is to make sure I get outside. Outside to exercise, walk, or even simply sit (hopefully in the sun). Taking this time for myself has helped me get through times I feel I have no control over. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


  2. Gregory,
    What a great post! I think it’s my first time visiting your blog. The Beach Boys’ song is great, and it brought me back to my youth. (I’m also about 5 years from retirement.) I appreciate your honesty and light-hearted grumping in this post.

    I’m glad you took care of yourself and are feeling ready for a new one after your tough year. Three years ago I began an important and surprising thing that helps me take care of myself. I got back to reading for fun. It has made a huge difference. Before that, I had gradually neglected my own personal reading to do school work from morning until night. I was neglecting my own health. When I began to read again, I took a breather and said NO to the idea that I could do everything necessary as a teacher. It is not possible to do everything, so I succumbed, and got more healthy. I also believe I became a more effective teacher and time manager.

    All the best,
    Denise Krebs

    P.S. Ippy-dippy is much better.


  3. Gregory,
    Yes, to all you’ve mentioned, including ippy-dippy. Very funny. I hope you continue to take your own advice. I had planned to teach until next year, but three years ago I became very sick and retired then to do the time for myself I should have taken each day and each week throughout my thirty-one year career. I loved my work and continue to learn about education as well as my own passions. I feel great now and am glad to be still able to contribute as an educator, on my pace. Your post is great advice. ~ Sheri


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