20 Years of Summer Goals

It occurred to me the other day that my 20 years of teaching has led to 20 summers of to do lists, big plans, and usually stress as the days ticked away and the list did not get much smaller. That experience has given me a little insight and I have made some changes to my approach to the summer.

The problem the first several years (16 or so!?) was that I just planned a little too big - organize the house, figure out a method to avoid large stacks of essays to grade, raise the Titanic, etc. The chance of getting any of these items complete during the summer was the same, zero. There were MANY items like this on my list and I was always frustrated by the time the school year rolled around again because I was still behind on my tasks!

I heard a saying years ago that went something like - if you expect nothing, you have all things. Now that is a mantra I can head into summer with! Unfortunately (and quite reasonably), my wife did not quite get as excited about that quote as I did. I needed to find a happy medium.

So, balance, realism, and prioritizing have taken over my approach to summer tasks and learning. Organize one pile a week instead of the entire house, fix one garden bed a week instead of re-landscaping the entire neighborhood, and so on. 

Like many, I have a large stack of books to read. Simply figuring out what will work at the beach or around the pool (Kieran Egan's The Educated Mind = no; Neal Bascomb's The New Cool = probably) and what I REALLY need to read before the school year begins is a good way to prioritize for me. The tasks and ideas I would like to implement in school next year are listed and will be prioritized in the same way.

One particular task (or habit) I want to develop this summer is to start blogging more consistently, so one of my 11 main tasks (while 10 is a nice round and manageable number, "these go to 11" is a phrase that sticks with me always) is to write one blog post a week. It takes me quite some time to plan and write each post so this is a decent goal for me. I learned that I should not get caught up in thinking about it too much and just need to be satisfied with any length and topic. One page of scribbled notes should be enough. 

Contrary to what I have heard for quite some time, I read somewhere recently that you should NOT tell others your goals. Maybe telling others puts extra pressure on you to complete the goal but since it is MY summer, I choose not to believe this research (or theory) and add that pressure. I will not delve into my list any more than that but I thought that others may want to join me in blogging a little more this summer. We can read and support each other in this task. I will report in September on my ability to achieve this weekly goal and maybe someone can add to their research about the theory of telling others about your goals.

Whew! One task for week #1 is now complete. If I stick to the plan I'll have another post published before ISTE11 and maybe by then tens of tenths of people will have read my posts and started their weekly blogging habit as well. Then both of us (or maybe all three!) can meet there and pump each other up to continue each week throughout the summer.


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