Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time off or Time to Cram?

As we end another academic school year, many people (not in the educational field) keep asking me if I'm counting down the days or looking forward to having a couple of months off. I'm sure other educators hear similar questions and I have to say that those questions frustrate me a bit. I feel like they imply that I can't wait to get out of the classroom and away from my students, putting us in the stereotypical school situation....which we are not. I don't know about you, but I enjoy being with my students. We have fun in our classroom together where we all learn together every single day. It's bittersweet for all of us when they pass on to the next grade because our tight-knit learning community is breaking up as they move forward to the next step in their learning journey.  I'm proud of them and I know that they are more than ready for the next grade, but I also know that I will miss them.

It's a constant journey that causes me to reflect throughout the year on what went well and what I want to change for the next group of learners headed my way. With that in mind, I am always searching for new resources, tools and insight on what will reach my individual learners best wherever they are in their learning journey. With that in mind, my summer fills up fast with conferences, unconferences, and workshops...not to mention all the webinars, blogs and Twitter chats that I'll have more flexibility to read and participate in throughout the summer months.

And although I do thoroughly enjoy having some time where I don't have to set my alarm clock and I can meet friends for lunch, I do (like many of you) cram a lot of professional learning into those two months off. My husband once laughed and told someone that real teachers don't get time off. They work just as hard if not harder in the summer as they do during the school year. The only difference is that we aren't in classroom with our students. We're out there learning to become the best teacher we can be for our next group of students.

So this summer as I strive to learn as much as possible from all of you, I hope that we can connect and learn together. Because learning together (like in many of our classrooms) is what is going to impact our students most. Providing them with as many opportunities to create, collaborate and work together in authentic learning activities while supporting their work with relevant tools is really what it's all about.


  1. Julie -
    It is a bit frustrating that people have this perception that teachers are thrilled to be out of school and away from the kids. Perhaps that is true for some, but already the teachers in my building are speaking about their summer professional development opportunities and classes they will be taking. My colleagues and are are planning several days where we can collaborate and create new project-based lessons for our classes. So indeed, we look forward to the summer where we can rejuvenate and have some uninterrupted time to work together! And well, Twitter.....I am looking forward to a summer of great chats and hoping there will be an "unconference" near me somewhere!

    Thanks for sharing what many of us feel!

  2. I so agree with your thoughts on summer break. It's been a pleasure to work with you, and I am wondering when in June your book will be available. Congratulations!
    Linda C