Teachers love the classroom. It is the place where we thrive. It is the arena filled with the exhilaration of a lesson well taught. The classroom is our home away from home. The classroom can become the center of our universe. It is where we literally stand as the bridge to a whole new world for our students.
Sometimes we can grow too attached to the classroom. We miss the grand stage of knowledge as we drift into summer vacation. I have often heard colleagues rationalize, “Once you hit the Fourth of July, the summer is almost over” and “The summer is way too long.” Independence Day often marks less than the two-week point of summer vacation for teachers and students. Statements like this have left me scratching my head and drawing the conclusion that this teacher is attempting to wish the rest of the summer away.
We all know how draining teaching young people can be. Summer should be the teacher’s secret weapon. Time away from students and the classroom can be spent recharging our batteries that power the body and soul. Jesus, the ultimate teacher, would withdraw with His apostles after spending many hours intensely teaching enormous crowds. Our Lord understood that in order to be a more effective teacher, he had to spend quality time with his friends and family.
Our classroom relationships should be an extension of our personal relationships outside the classroom. The peace, tranquility and fulfillment that is cultivated through spending quality time with the ones we love the most can transform us and in turn, inspire us in the classroom.
Summer enables the teacher to catch up on the long list of things that have been put on hold throughout the year. I have been no stranger to the summer practice of painting and wallpapering our home. There never seems to be enough time during the school year to accomplish our home improvement projects. We often neglect the people in our lives as we attempt to check another item off of our endless “to-do” lists. No matter how much time we spend with our family and friends, we can always use more time to fortify these bonds.
In my latest book, The Complete Christian (due out later this year), I dedicate a full chapter to the importance of traveling with family and friends. Vacations can be stressful, so stressful in fact that some people would rather forego the experience. Long hours cramped in a car with children can rattle the calmest of people. The endless lines at the airport waiting to clear security or customs may make us wish that we never left the shelter of our humble abode. The money used on a vacation could often be used to fix an item around the house that has been neglected for way too long.
Vacations can be magical. They provide moments that families will talk about for years to come. The immersion into another culture and language can be a transforming experience. Moving outside of our comfort zone can create a priceless event.
In these summer days, pack up the family and head out for new adventure. Go where you have never traveled before. Seek the unknown and carve new paths down untraveled roads. Break up the monotony with a visit to an unknown destination. Invest in your relationships by choosing a vacation that will benefit your family forever. The rest and relaxation in these summer months will provide the buffer in the hectic days of the school year ahead.
Have a peaceful summer!