Rough Waters Ahead…

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors- African Proverb

As we begin the journey of welcoming another group of students into our hearts, we must be reminded that our task is not an easy one, but rewarding nonetheless.  Many people will say that you should not begin the year thinking about the end, but I disagree.  You must begin the year with an end goal in mind.  You cannot expect to walk into the year without a plan of action and that plan of action has both an execution and end date.  This African Proverb suggests that, “smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” It echoes my thoughts about the school year perfectly.  Nothing is easy about education or being an educator.  Many times our expectations do not match our efforts.  Reality is a harsh pill to swallow, but it is a manageable one.  Our goal is to strengthen the students that we have.  Throughout this process, one certainty exists:  each school year creates another opportunity for us to enhance our skills as educators.

Summer time, Summer mind!

During the summer months, teachers are reminded of the certainty that school begins in sixty days or less by endless advertisements, emails and premature visits to the school.  In some cases, summer days are filled with teaching summer school, finishing off last minute details from the previous year or simply gearing up for the upcoming year.  Very seldom are teachers left with nothing to do over the break.  For this reason, I often wonder what type of professional development is expected of teachers over the summer. 
In other industries, rarely are employees asked to use their break as a time to work on new concepts or read up on the most up-to-date skills, but this is frequently the charge given to educators. Most colleagues spend their summers finding alternative strategies, buying supplies, or simply lurking on the internet for classroom ideas.  These activities should also be earmarked as professional development. 

In many instances, professional development describes classes, webinars or book talks.  However, the amount of time educators spend gathering, learning, meeting and preparing should count as well.  This summer I reflected, taught summer school, lurked for new ideas and simply read about teaching.  This summer I focused on recommitting myself to the actual practice of teaching so that my development remains in a way that is not stagnant.  This summer has not been like past summers because this summer I realized that teaching changes you more that you change it and thus summer time is an opportunity to develop my summer mind.  This summer take the opportunity to develop professionally by changing up your summer professional development.