Watch out for crabs!

The days of summer are winding down, the in-service schedule and “to do” lists loom large. But there is something about going back that just feels great. I’ve had time to rest, to read for fun, to cook gourmet meals that don’t happen from September-June, to shop, to expand my PLN, learn new tools, visit with friends, watch hummingbirds as I sip tea on the patio, chat with my adult children in meaningful ways….

I have made a promise to myself to keep this story in mind as I navigate through this year’s library landscape. With all of its ups and downs and its school-year rhythms I am determined to stay positive and remember not to worry about the crabs and their buckets.

What are your favorite strategies for staying positive and putting your library’s best face forward?

Three Questions

A dear friend and colleague retired from my school a few weeks ago and I will miss her terribly.  In an email from her recently she told me about the books she’s been re-reading so far this summer, books that had an impact on her teaching, books that gave her pause, books that she and her students enjoyed together. One of them was Jon Muth’s The Three Questions, which is based on a story by Leo Tolstoy.

In that story Nikolai asks, “What is the best time to do things?  Who is the most important one?  What is the right thing to do?” and he receives answers steeped in the Zen tradition.  This has got me thinking.  Linda’s email was a reminder that the very best teachers take time for reflection.  They think about their goals, their practice, what worked, what didn’t, what they can do differently, what really matters.

So I’ve decided to ask myself these three questions periodically throughout the coming summer and school year.

What is the best time to do things? Right now—summer!  My head  feels like it will explode most days because I am catching up on (literally) hundreds of items in my Google Reader. I’ve made a new commitment to blogging, I’m reading “grown-up” books for pleasure along with YA novels, and I’m dedicating lots of time to investigating tools for tech integration.

Who is the most important one? Right now I am the most important one in my teaching journey.  I am away from the distractions and interruptions in the library, the requests from staff, the needs of students.  By taking time to do what I want to do and reflect on my work, I’ll be better able to make a smooth transition again to school mode in August.

What is the right thing to do? For me, it feels right to strike a balance between staying immersed and learning all that I can and taking the time to just “be.”  A bit easier in some ways now that my children are grown but still a challenge.  I always feel like I have to be doing something and get antsy if I’m not.  (Just ask my husband!)  I’m not a hobby person so the things I tend to do in the summer are related to my school work.  Maybe a few phone calls to friends are in order…

Here’s a question for you:  What are you doing to recharge and reflect this summer?