The month of August is when teachers, in many places but not all, start the back-to-school countdown. If this is you, by this time of the year, you are probably gearing up to meet your new class of students or are participating in professional learning activities planned by your school or jurisdiction. And some, like me, are beginning to realize that the summer is almost over and that maybe we didn’t complete all those plans and goals we had from opening boxes from a recent move (still working on it, but making progress daily) to an intense month of working on a big project (I accomplished a lot more on the work needed to move ahead in my dissertation than I had anticipated). Whatever you did, it’s time to celebrate it.
Now, the stark reality of what being back at school entails is slowly settling in around me. Nevertheless, I am trying to do what my husband suggested when I lamented the end of summer: don’t stress about what’s coming up. Just enjoy the moment now so that you can be in the moment once you go back to work. I think these are wise words and I intend to follow them.
So, over the next few weeks, as my calendar starts to fill up, I will take each event as it comes. I will revel in the moment and follow through on what are becoming joyful routines for me this summer. I will continue to spend 10 minutes in the morning just writing in a stream of consciousness way before checking social media. So far, so good! I am on day #4 of this new plan and it is really helping to clear my mind and to stay away from social media first thing in the morning. This morning writing is just what I need to work things out in my mind, to set a plan for the day, to name and explore mixed up feelings.
I know the first couple of weeks back to school, at least, will be an adjustment period for everyone as we move from vacation mode into school mode – continuing with new and old routines, recognizing and adapting to lack of flexible time, reestablishing a sensible sleep pattern. Nevertheless, I aim to take it slowly. To do as much as I can. And, especially to combine significant spurts of head work with exercising, watching another episode from a favorite series or simply talking with my husband.
I know that I tend to write similar posts to this one where I examine my habits, promise to do better and end up in the same place or worse than before. But, for some reason, this summer feels significantly different than others. It’s not that I have got it all figured out, but my level of productivity – reading, writing, exercising, eating better – has got me all fired up to continue these habits once school starts. Of course, I know everything will slow down, but I’m discovering that time is truly a relative construct. Ten minutes seems like nothing, but when you put on a timer (this really works!) and sit down to read or write, it amounts to a lot. These small moments have made a huge difference for me.
So, to those of you who are back at school, here’s wishing you the best year, yet.
To those of you that have already started teaching, enjoy your students; they depend on you.
And, to those who are getting ready to go back, I hope you slow down these last few days rather than rushing through them; you don’t want to miss out on important moments along the way.
And, as for me, I am definitely more than just a little bit excited about going back to school. Bring it on!
Crossposted to Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Tuesday.
14 thoughts on “August”
Elisa, it is definitely that time of year to reflect and plan ahead but it is also our time to savor the summer. I like that you are doing both. Have a wonderful end of summer and consider sharing with me (digitally) on your concept of the art of summering for my upcoming summer gallery.
Thank you for your comment, Carol. I would love to share on your summer gallery, but I’m not sure how. Maybe you can explain how this works? TY!
I’m with you Elisa! I have something to share but I don’t know how to “sign” it. Sigh. Carol, do you have a step-by-step? Or maybe I just need to wrestle with it for a while…
I think your husband’s advice is so wise. I have 3 weeks left but the last week will be busy with setting up the classroom and getting ready. I’m feeling that little panicky feeling about not getting it all done. My mom called to ask me something and I could hear the stress in my voice as I asked her if we could talk about it later. I need to take a deep breath and work on handling stress better this year! I hope all your preparations go well!
I hear you, Kathleen. It’s incredible how we stress ourselves out even though we would probably do just as well, or maybe even better, if we took things calmly and slowly. I will have to keep reminding myself of that. Good luck with the start to your year. I’m back in about two weeks for teacher days and kids go back the day after Labor Day.
I hear the significance of the ten minutes a day of writing before launching into social media. It is a refreshing practice, and one that I may try, too! Your reflection values self-care and that is so important for Ts to be able to give our very best to our Ss. Thank you!
Thanks for your comment! Self-care and self-compassion are my new mantras. I will be doing lots of self-talk along with changing unproductive habits to stay the course. I’m looking forward to that challenge this year.
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Love your growth mindset in this post. And your wise words to embrace the remaining moments and savor them.
Thank you for your comment, Ramona. I will be posting updates as the year goes on. It feels good to be thinking and doing differently than I do most years at this time.
That’s a great morning habit, Elisa! It’s like the social media becomes the prize for having written (rather than the distraction that will take you away from it). May I share this tip with others next week for SOL Tuesday? If so, please shoot me an email (with the permalink to this post) and your permission. THANKS!
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Yes, the social media is the reward for having held off checking anything for 10 – 15 minutes. And, when school starts, I will probably not even have time to check social media, email, etc until later in the day because I’ll need to get ready for work. I’d have to add at least 1/2 hour to my day to do that and I think that 1/2 hour would be better used to sleep or even to write more or read my book. Whenever I wait to check Twitter or Facebook or any other social media platform, I realize there was nothing pressing there couldn’t wait a few hours.
I think I’m going to commit to the 10 minutes (as best as I can) in the morning. I like that – and I don’t like my current morning jump to social media. I also really appreciate your honesty about the slow changes and the shift to the new rhythm of the school year. I need to take your husband’s advice for myself – and with two more weeks, I will try to remember it. Thanks for a great post.
Thanks for your comment, Amanda. So far, so good. I think what’s important is to maximize our time with activities that help cultivate what we want to promote in ourselves. My big focus is a consistent writing habit and one way I know works is to set aside time for writing every day. I know I can spare 10 – 15 minutes…by postponing social media for later in the day or right away if I have the time. Changing this habit of checking social media right when I wake up has not been easy, but I know the writing is directly related to my ultimate goal of developing a writing habit, so it’s worth the effort. Good luck!