Have you had a chance to rest at all over the Winter Break?
I’ve learned over the years that it takes me about two weeks to let go of the stress of the semester and really convince myself that it is OK to unwind. At first, I feel like a top that has been spinning a long time bumping into walls and that kind of thing. Finally, the top wobbles and comes to a pause. When that happens, I become less interested in the things I do during the semester for comfort – like watch a mindless TV show or drink coffee by the gallon. During the breaks, once the top stops spinning crazily, I begin to get more excited about teaching and learning. Suddenly, everything I read or see relates to my upcoming class – the new assignment I’m about to try, or the old assignment I’m about to tweak. Suddenly, there is a world of possibilities again and I start reading and thinking, and resting and enjoying my family, and reading some more and thinking some more.
It’s a lovely time because it’s one of the most optimistic points in the year.
Then, as the first day of class looms closer, I start to get anxious. How can I hold on to this optimism? Is there a way to prepare so I know when it starts and just slow down before the top spins out of control? Honestly, I have asked myself this question the week before every single semester…for the past 12 years! The good news is, I’m always sure that this semester I’ll get it right. This semester, I will have more balance in my life. This semester, I will recognize the signs of “spinning-top syndrome” before they get out of hand.
Spring 2011 is no exception, I’m just sure this semester will be a good one! I hope my ACCESS colleagues will join me for the ride. Perhaps as a group we can share with each other some ideas about creating balance in our busy lives. ACCESS is our community. We need to rely on each other for support.
I came across an article in Education Week this morning and thought I’d share it with you. How Teachers Can Build Emotional Resiliency by Elena Aguilar is about teachers, and teacher burn-out. It references a 2004 study on resiliency in urban teachers that states, “resilient teachers have colleagues who support their work emotionally and intellectually”. This is a beautiful reminder that we should never think we are alone. Within our ACCESS learning community, we can take time to have the meaningful conversations that are so necessary for professional growth and we can provide a solid base for each other on which to set our beatuifully spinning tops!
What support do you need from our ACCESS community?
Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or send me an e-mail, I’d love to hear from you email@example.com
respectfully submitted by Carrie Nepstad, new ACCESS President