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.
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.
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?