Happy Mid-Year Reset Opportunity

Happy New Year!!  

The return from winter break always brings with it a somewhat strange feeling.  There is a sense of the new year starting, clean slate and all.  On the other hand, unlike in August, the feeling of uncertainty doesn’t loom nearly as large.  In educational circles we move on a different calendar from the rest of the world, the “new year” just isn’t the same for us.  So instead of “Happy New Year” I think perhaps I should wish you all a “happy mid-year reset opportunity!”

The winter break was great, never seems long enough but it’s great nonetheless.  Perhaps the best thing to come from the winter break is the opportunity to sit back, reflect, and relax.  The chance to come back refreshed but with the same students and classes as the first semester gives us a chance to hit the proverbial reset button.  Most teachers can’t go all the way back to day one with new classes and new students but we can most definitely start fresh as re-energized teachers with equally recharged students.

The first week back is over and with it (hopefully) all of the late arrivals, students still in “vacation mode”, and readjusting to the daily grind of waking up early.  Now is the chance to start building the positive momentum for the second semester.  Whether it’s getting more organized, rearranging your classroom, building a stronger relationship with students, or another new year goal, now is the perfect time to act.  

New Year’s Resolutions are typical around this time of year but for educators perhaps the reality is that we’re really looking at, and reevaluating, our beginning of the year growth goals.  In my personal life I’ve set a resolution (more on that next week) but I’ve also taken some time over the holiday to reflect on my professional goals.  I’ve recommitted to my goals and looked at ways to extend in areas where I’ve seen success during the first half of the year.

As we build momentum for this downhill run toward summer, take a chance to reflect on the first half of the year and then think about where you want to focus your time and energies between now and June.  The 100th day of school is coming soon and we’ll be on summer vacation before we know it.  Be that as it may, this is the best time of year for growth both for our students and for ourselves!!

Welcome back and Happy Mid-Year Reset Opportunity!!


Happy Holidays!

For the last four years, as I lived in China, the biggest holiday of the year was the Lunar New Year but I’ve got to say…being back in a country where Christmas is the biggest holiday has hooked me into the holiday spirit like crazy!  The trees and decorations have been up around here since October but I didn’t really get hooked until this week.  It’s been a great last couple of days, coming together for a school wide breakfast on Thursday and following that with 4 hours of caroling all over campus and even at IMAGINE Valley.  The spirit is in the air and I’m excited 🙂

We’ve hit the holidays and that means a relaxing couple of weeks spent with family and friends.  Many of us will be traveling both near and far, others of us will enjoy the tranquility of sleeping in and lounging about the house with nothing but a coffee and a good book.  It won’t be hard to find peace and happiness during the holiday season, drink it in and enjoy every last drop!!

Personally I’ll be enjoying the best of both worlds, traveling and family!!  I haven’t been this excited for a holiday in a long time and I think it’s the combination of seeing my sisters and their spouses along with the promise of new and exciting experiences that has me flying high.  I hope that everyone will find something or someone to make your holiday a wonderful time.

Ever since I’ve been overseas and taking advantage of long holidays to travel and enjoy new experiences I’ve also been fighting through what I call the “vacation hangover”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t spend my holidays in some deep alcoholic stupor and then suffer from detox withdrawals!!  Rather, the “hangover” in this case is more of a transition back to the “real world” after enjoying the amazing experiences of far off lands.  Despite the fact that my “real world” IS a far off and exotic land to my family and friends “back home” it seems that the return from a wonderful holiday travel experience leads to a bit of a lull.  This year I aim to do something about that and I’d like to share that with you in case you’ve ever experienced a similar feeling.

Each year people the world over make New Year’s resolutions and, let’s be honest, most people don’t make it to February before they’ve caved in and given up.  I’ve never set a resolution for just this reason; I don’t want to set a goal that is unrealistic.  However, this year I’ve come across a wonderful idea that I am going to work extremely hard to turn into my resolution for 2016.  

The Greater Good Science Center based out of the University of California – Berkeley does amazing research in the field of happiness.  Recently I read one of their articles about how taking a picture can help you hold onto some feelings of joy and happiness.  Now, I’ve always been a picture person (I’m not that great but I try) and when I travel I’m not a collector of anything in particular, just photos.  In the age of digital cameras I have set a goal of taking so many pictures on a trip that at least one of them will be great (even if by accident!)  So when I saw this article I began thinking about my travels and remembered my “vacation hangover” problem…and an idea was born!  

Here it is, my resolution, and I hope people ask me about it and help hold me accountable!  My goal is to take one picture each day and create a year of 2016 “yearbook” for myself.  I don’t have any more specifications, I’m going to see how it goes and let it evolve as necessary.  I’m excited, which means I’ve already gotten off to a good start…hopefully the happiness flows as this project grows.

Anyway, maybe I’ve created a bit of inspiration for you and your New Year’s resolution or perhaps you’re at least interested enough to check out the Greater Good Science Center for yourself, they have a great website full of interesting articles and videos.  They also run a self-paced edX course called “The Science of Happiness” that is totally worth your time!!  At the very least, I want to wish everyone a happy holidays and a restful vacation.  Travel safe if you’re on the go, savor a peaceful walk and enjoy your relaxing time no matter where you are.  Happy Holidays!!!