My Dedicated 20% Time

ImageAs the buses pulled away from the building on June 25th it is hard to determine who was more excited, me or the students that filled those busses. June was a long month! A year filled with transition to Common Core standards and a new teacher evaluation system was further complicated by crazy weather and a constantly disrupted calendar. When I left the building on June 28th after leading a three day workshop for teachers, I was exhausted. Fast-forward 10 days and I feel like a new person. I have had a wonderful week of vacation with my family, celebrated the 4th, read three books that have had zero value to my profession, or intellect for that matter, gotten some great sleep and have a pretty nice tan. Now I am ready to do what I love to do – dream about the possibilities of the new school year and figure out a way to make them a reality. To me, summer is my dedicated 20% time. It is my time to focus on what I want to dream about, not the initiatives of others.

My goal for the summer is to figure out how to make this mindset a reality in my classroom. How do I create an environment in which students are inspired to explore and learn because they are passionate about the topic? How do I guide students while still maintaining student choice? How do I inspire my students to dream and find a way to make their dreams a reality? How do I do all this while still meeting the expectations of district mandates? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but charting a game plan for the new school year is my goal for the summer.

For some, the idea of spending their vacation time thinking about this would equate to boredom, but not for me. I am excited about the opportunity to engage in these discussions with fellow educators. Next week I have the privilege of leading a workshop on differentiated instruction for EdTechTeacher. The following week is filled with the Desire to Learn’s Fusion Conference, Edcamp BLC and BLC13. I also hope to get to a few EdCamp Tuesdays in Burlington. August brings the MTA Conference, Edcamp CT, and Edcamp Leadership. I will finally read the hundreds of articles and posts I have pocketed, bookmarked and pinned. I will engage in chats and actually have time to explore the endless list of valuable resources that are shared. My summer is packed with opportunities to collaborate with other educators and hopefully generate some exciting ideas for the fall. This is my 20% time. I guess this is how I know that being an educator is what I am meant to be doing. I love being an educator and although I am happy to have a bit more beach time in my very near future, I am already looking forward to the buses rolling back up to the building.