It seems like a long time ago that I started writing this blog, five years and 146 posts ago. Thinking about that makes me start thinking back to all that has happened over those five years. Two different schools, traveling to all sorts of countries, lots of professional and personal experiences that have changed me (mostly for the better), and throughout all of that a constant reflective process that I’ve learned and practiced through the writing of this blog. I’ve written before about why this blog is important to me and why I think others should try, if I haven’t convinced you yet…maybe now is the time! Perhaps over the summer you’ll sit down and give it a shot.
Hopefully everyone managed to stay alive (literally and figuratively) and we’re now about to embark on a wonderful summer! For each of us that will look a little differently. Normally my summers are a time for me to reflect, read, write, and attend a PD or two but this summer will be different. For Amy and I it will be a short and busy time. After leaving Ecuador we’ve got just three weeks until our wedding (YAY!) and then only four more days until we head off toward Indonesia! There’ll be lots of planning, visiting with family, and racing around getting everything ready for a wedding and relocation. Then it’ll be the new school year before we know it!
Even though my summer will be crazy (and I’m sure many of yours will be too), 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 five things.
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. Establish a PLN: If you haven’t done this already, now is your time. Don’t be afraid to start small. Right around the same time I started this blog, about 5 years ago, I started on Twitter and slowly began to see the value of building an online/digital Professional Learning Network. Some of you have experienced my PLN first hand, connecting across the globe to celebrate awesome activities, meet new colleagues, or even just find a new idea. Start out by having a look at a past blog post I wrote about building a PLN (it’s short) and then create a Twitter account. Once you have one (or if you already do) send me a tweet (@The1sWhoDo) and ask who you should follow…I’m happy to start recommending people immediately. From there…follow along and get a feel for Twitter, summer is a perfect time to do so!
3. Take care of yourself.
Remember that New Year’s Resolution…yeah, I know the feeling…I was too stressed and too cold in the rainy season to really get anything productive going. It’s too cold and wet to get out of the house and do anything! 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 (the standard FitBit goal) 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!
4. 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 five books on my Kindle just 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 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!
5. 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 AC 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!