Saturday, May 31, 2014

What's Your Batting Average?

  "Be a reflective teacher. Honestly look at what you do from time to time. Evaluate the purpose of your role as a teacher."- Robert John Meehan


Like most teachers, I find the last dismissal of the year bittersweet. I evaluate myself and the job I did guiding young minds to develop critical thinking skills. Did they get how to analyze something? Will they just mindlessly accept things or judge them for the use of logic? Did they grow as writers, being able to articulate their thoughts in a logical progression of connected ideas?
I don’t have any illusions of myself as an educator. Just as with everyone there are hits and misses. But when the hits happen, they feel like home runs. This year seemed to be filled with more singles and doubles than grand slams. What contributes to sub-par batting averages? I think it’s engagement. If students take an interest in a topic, home runs will be more prevalent.
Image courtesy of Peter Chen
So school’s out. Now what? How will I fill my summer? My pattern has been to take June and July “off” so to speak. I need to recharge and re-energize myself so I try not to think about lesson plans and new ideas. Instead I visit friends and relatives and tackle projects I put off during the school year. Like cleaning closets. Ugh!
But even though I say I “take” June and July off, I still find my thoughts wandering to the upcoming year. When I least expect it, it seems, I get a great school-related idea to flesh out at a later date. For those moments, I keep a notebook handy or use my notes section in my smartphone. I’ll often dictate the idea onto my phone where I can access it later.           
School is indeed out. I look forward to a summer of fun and relaxation and learning. I will continue to read books and plan on attending the first ever Google Summit that’s coming to town. I’m also jazzed about attending and presenting at the state English teacher’s conference.
But aside from those activities, I plan on taking some bike rides, having coffee with friends, mowing the lawn and reading. Blissful days spent on the porch with a book in hand and lemonade on the table next to me.
I’m looking forward to my “do-nothing” days, knowing that all too soon batters will be up, looking for me to throw them “home run” pitches. It’s the break I take in June and July that helps me be a consistent pitcher.  I may not get a multi-million dollar contract, but the satisfaction I get from feeding my students the right pitch can’t be beat.
By relaxing in June and July, I’m ready to say, “Batter up” in the fall.

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