The Nature of Summer

Every day of summer vacation includes some professional time. I’m not one to take the summer off. Even if I could truly take the summer off, I’m sure I’d fill my time with professional development or a project of some kind. I’m not good at vacating!

While summer gives me time to regroup and change up my routine, it also allows me time to reflect on what’s truly important in my career as well as my home life. What parts of your work life spill over into your home life? If you’re an educator, then probably a lot.

beach during sunset
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Educational professionals lead a different kind of life. There is a constant need to reinvent oneself as technology changes, curriculum changes, schools change and demands change. It can cross into your personal life in such a way that you never truly feel like you are away from your job.

So how do you balance it? Every person does it differently, but I find that I have to still teach all summer. Maybe you teach at a summer camp. Maybe you give professional development sessions to other teachers. Maybe you teach your own kids. Or maybe you teach yourself new things. I try to combine as much of that as I can but on a less demanding schedule than the traditional school year.

I teach teachers online for the New England Institute for Teacher Education.¬†Two of my established technology classes are running concurrently right now. The summer is the only time to run two at the same time while working full-time! This adventure is full of new things every time I do it. These teachers find new angles that I hadn’t even thought of! I get a “2-fer” – I get to teach and I get to learn at the same time. Now that’s a great summer!

The nature of my summer might look a lot different than yours. Yes, sometimes I long to go take a really long walk on a beach somewhere, but my family has other demands that just don’t allow for much of that. It’s all good, though. I’m able to help them out and still get to do something I love: educate and learn.

How about you? What’s your “Nature of Summer”?

 

The Power of Personal Online Professional Development

It has always been a challenge for me to find enough time to really communicate and train my staff the way I think I should. It’s not due to lack of motivation on my part. It’s not due to lack of need on my learner’s part. The biggest stumbling block becomes time. There is never enough time – at least not enough during the school day, a workday or well, any other day!

The move to online professional development that is self-directed has made all the difference. While I’d prefer that best practices teaching be standardized in some way, the personal aspect of being able to provide content that “speaks” to my learners in my own voice is crucial. Each trainer or coach needs to provide that personal touch that pulls in their audience.

It has a lot to do with surrounding oneself with greatness. Take, for example, that vibrant person that you learn something from every single time you are around them. They seem to just ooze the best tips, tricks, and ways to do things. They are dynamic, even if they are quiet. One is drawn to what they have to share and may be found following them on Twitter and even to lunch. But, they are willing to share. They are quick to offer a solution. These are the people I like to surround myself with.

I can send people to YouTube where they can search for their topic. But they want to hear it from me. They want to hear about my personal connection with this tool or method. Making it personal makes it real. It’s no longer just the learner and the computer. It becomes the learner, the computer and the coach who is on demand 24/7.

So, I will continue to surround¬†myself with great people. I will continue to learn about my profession, as it changes daily. I will continue to provide the best professional development that I can so that my learners will grow and become leaders themselves. What a great year it’s going to be!