It seems like a long time ago that I started writing my 2 Cents! For the last SCIS version of my 2 Cents I’m going to be a bit more long winded than usual. However, I want to offer a few summer time options for those who haven’t already ironed out every single minute of their holiday. I’m not advocating for any one idea over another but I think any successful summer will include at least one of these four things.
Personally, for my summer, I’ll be working on organizing a visa to Ecuador, spending time with family and friends in America, getting back to working out and eating healthy, and acting as the Officiant in my sister’s wedding just days before Amy and I take off for Quito. During all of that time I’ve also committed to reading two professional books (one for an online book chat and the other to review for Middleweb) and attending a 1-day “Ed Camp” in Chicago. I’m excited for these professional opportunities which have all come via my professional learning community (PLC).
My recommendations for the summer:
1. Hit the beach, mountains, trails, parks, ocean, lake, or whatever you can find outdoors!
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air (I’m hoping you can get away from a polluted city for this one). Spend a few days camping next to a river with no wifi or mobile phone access, unplug and enjoy Mother Nature at her finest. Give yourself some time to just enjoy all that nature has to offer without the hustle and bustle of the ‘outside world’. If camping isn’t your thing then take a walk, go for a bike ride, or just sit and enjoy a park…but do it often. Take a road trip, see a new place, and get out of the city-life for a while. All of these things will help rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit!
2. Take care of yourself.
Remember that New Year’s Resolution…yeah, I know the feeling…I was too stressed and too cold in the winter to really get anything productive going. It’s too dark in the mornings and dreary at night, who wants to work out? I wanted a nice warm meal full of comfort food and some wine on the couch at the end of those days, not an exercise class and salad!! However, now the sun is shining and we can sleep past 6AM! So track down your trainers and get moving…10,000 steps a day is a lot easier to manage in the summer when there are no papers to grade or meetings to attend. Cook some homemade meals for your friends and family who still have to work through the summer, enjoy a nice dinner together and help them relieve some stress too. The summer is your time to take care of yourself and feel great!
3. Read, read, read!
If you’re like me you might feel like summer is the perfect time to squeeze in some of that professional reading you’ve promised yourself you’d do. That’s fine but don’t skip the reading for pleasure too!! (I’ve got Game of Thrones book 5 waiting for me) Whether you’ve got a book waiting or not, you might also consider reading some of the books that are hot with our kids right now. This article is a great one and lists five young adult books that adults would also enjoy. I’ve read a few on this list (Book Thief is awesome!) and agree that knowing what our kids are into is a great way to connect and relate to our middle school age kids. If you’re thinking that professional reading might be in the works for the beach then have a look at this article, some great tips there too. The old saying of “don’t mix work with pleasure” goes out the door here…when it comes to summer reading, mix away!
4. Reconnect at your own risk!
It goes without saying that living overseas requires a long time away from friends and family who are back ‘home’ or elsewhere. However, if you’re like me it only takes a week or so at ‘home’ before you feel like it’s time for a break! There are a lot of family and friends who want to spend as much time with you as possible and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the attention. In a sense it’s almost like teaching…there’s only one of you but there’s a seemingly endless number of people who want/need your time and energy. Be sure to take some “Me Time” this summer and don’t let yourself get run down while trying to connect with everyone. I often joke at the end of summer that “I need to get back to work so I can relax!” It’s easy to feel that way, especially if you’re bouncing from couch to guest room all summer. Enjoy the time with family and friends but be sure to enjoy some time alone as well.
Enjoy the last week with our kids, it’s going to be a wildly emotional ride for many of them (and us!!) Hang in there and enjoy the laughs and memories and embrace the inevitable tears. Everyone has made a lot of strong connections here in the SCIS community and it will be tough to part ways, no matter how long you’ve been here. Say what you need to say to those you’ve grown close with, trade contact info, and be confident that you’ll connect again soon!