- Sometimes it is difficult to fully recognize where the dividing line is between work and home.
- Summers are meant to rejuvenate, reconnect, and reflect.
- When you start to dread going back, reflect on the goodness present in teaching.
After finishing another long year of teaching, one of the most challenging since 2020, you may ask yourself:
Is it worth returning in the fall?
Do I have the stamina to continue to teach?
Where is the joy?
Teaching Is a Lot
Teaching can take a lot out of you. You give your all to your students for 9 months. Those days are long and they don’t begin at 8 am and end at 3 pm. Needless to say, you probably carry it all around with you when you go home, when you go to sleep, when you wake up in the mornings and on the weekends. Our students, their lives become part of our lives, and sometimes it is difficult to fully recognize where the dividing line is.On these slow days, I have the pleasure of enjoying the moments without feeling rushed. They rejuvenate me in a way that brings me energy and strength. Click To Tweet
The 3 R’s of Summer
Summers rejuvenate us; to help us reconnect and find the joy again in this profession that can be so challenging and depleting. Summers are meant to rejuvenate, reconnect, and reflect.
The dictionary definition for rejuvenate is give new energy or vigor.
The beauty of summer is to give us back some of our energy and help us to rediscover who we are as individuals and possibly as parents, friends, and partners.
For me, summer means slow days that begin with morning coffee sitting in the brisk cool air in my backyard with my dog playing nearby. It is those mornings that make me appreciate all around me and allow me to look upon my day with fresh eyes. The slow days allow me the ability to choose between reading a book, taking a walk, writing, or spending time with family and friends. They allow me to do things for myself. For example, I can go to the gym at any hour of the day and do something good for my body. On these slow days, I have the pleasure of enjoying the moments without feeling rushed. They rejuvenate me in a way that brings me energy and strength. This rejuvenation fills my soul and creates a joy deep within me like a sunflower finally blooming in the sunshine.
Summertime allows me the time to reconnect with those whom I love. Days are calm and I can fully focus on what truly matters in life. When my kids were little, the summertime was trips to the beach, museums, parks, and playdates. It was our time to reconnect with each other.
As my children are now older, those days are behind us but the desire to reconnect is not gone. We just find different ways to spend time together and it is good for our souls.
During the school year, sometimes we are caught up with our work and the needs of our students that we miss those moments with our loved ones. The times when I can participate without thinking of my job and feeling stress are far and few between.
The slowness of summer allows me time to reflect on my school year. Consequently, it is time to think of the many blessings that the school year brought into my life. As a result, there were 28 little blessings who left an imprint in my heart.
The Encourager always celebrated everyone and taught us all to cheer each other on.
The Empathizing One looked at everyone through an accepting and inclusive lens.
The Persevering One never gave up and gave 100% of effort in everything that they did.
The Writer discovered their craft and wrote more than they had ever written.
The Reader was always caught reading and joyfully shared every book they read.
The Organizer made sure not only their things were organized but everyone else’s were also.
The Helper was always willing to give a helping hand to anyone who walked into the classroom.
The Comedian kept us laughing on a daily basis.
The Confident One tried everything and if they failed, they kept going.
The Risk Taker stepped out of their comfort zone and made plenty of mistakes.
The One with the Growth Mindset knew they weren’t there yet, but they kept trying.
The Deep Thinker pondered everything that was shared and impressed us with their wisdom in return.
The Leader took initiative and got us started.
The Listener took the time to hear everyone’s story and continued to ask questions.
The Quiet One sat back and took everything in, but never missed a beat.
The Extrovert wanted to share everything and be the life of the party.
The Kind One found ways to make every person feel special.
The Grateful One always expressed gratitude towards everyone.
The Innovator was always thinking outside of the box.
The Athlete lived and breathed sports 24/7.
The Creative One added art to every note, assignment, project, and test.
The Enthusiastic One was excited from the moment they got to school.
The Cheerful One whose smile was contagious.
The Emotional One wore their heart on their sleeve.
The Storyteller entertained us with their stories.
The Environmentalist was concerned about the Earth and educated us on climate change.
The Friend wanted everyone to feel loved and that they had a place at the table.
The Trustworthy One whom everyone knew that they could count on.[scroll down to keep reading]
Reflect This Summer
These blessings play a crucial role in my reflection time during the summer because they remind me of why I keep going back each year. They also remind me of the joy I receive each day of the school year. It is not always the big dramatic moments that keep us going back, it is the small joys that brighten our days. Furthermore, it is the connections and relationships that keep us going.
Sometimes at the moment, we forget to look for those blessings, but when we sit to reflect we can find a treasure of moments to remind us why we chose to be that educator.
Why You Do What You Do
So if your summer is almost over and you feel the dread of going back, reflect on those small moments and those blessings from the past years. They have the ability to change your mindset and remind you why you do what you do.
In the end, these are the moments that keep me teaching with joy.
About Bridget Gengler
Bridget Gengler is a fourth grade teacher in Long Beach, California. She has taught bilingual education, general education, and GATE for the past 26 years. She’s passionate about building relationships and a strong classroom community that opens up doors of success for her students. She strives to empower all students to share their voices and their stories. Her class motto is “ You matter! You are important! You have a story to tell and we want to hear it!” She brings her love of reading and writing to the classroom in the hopes that it will promote lifelong readers and writers.
Bridget believes that self-care is essential in an educator’s life. She takes time to focus on gratitude, mindfulness and kindness during the day. She contributes this balance to her success in the classroom.
Family is number one for her! Her most precious job is being a mom to four young adults, an energetic lab puppy, and a wife to a wonderful husband. When she is not teaching, writing or reading she is creating memories with them. They love to travel, discover new restaurants, and watch professional baseball.