Learning The Impact of a Stranger: Why you and I should never underestimate​ our daily encounters, with anything.

These blog posts have turned out to be ultra therapeutic for me as of late. Maybe that’s all it will be, a way for me to put myself out there to the world and at least feel content with my thoughts and my brain.

With that said, I am not sure how many others have the rushing feeling that I get during a work week but it can be painful and daunting without an outlet. To-do lists and tasks spin around, constantly whipping and whooshing past my eyes and fogging my focus. It’s not dramatic, I promise this is actually going on, ALWAYS. If you’ve ever talked to me in person and seen a glazed over look, I’m probably calculating how much is left on my vehicle loan, planning when I can see that friend I bailed on last week, or deciding what to get at the grocery store. You and I may have that in common, maybe not. Regardless, today’s post involves an example of what happens when we stop to look at one of this single tasks for what it is and appreciate our lives and the vital role we can play for others lives as well.

My career switch to Educational Technology is an exciting move for me. But let me tell you what this summer looks like for someone working at a school in technology, just to illustrate my real message. I have been sitting in a room removing labels, cleaning cases, typing labels, and sticking labels on 1,500 iPads for over a week. Now before I sound whiny, I’m not, really. The point is that you have to get what brought my brain to the place I am about to tell you. The school I am working at has many foreign students boarding with names I have never seen, so each time I put their name on an iPad I have to stare at it to check if it’s right. I even get a mild dose of anxiety when considering whether or not their school year would start of sourly based on a misplaced “L” or “T” because I really do believe that these devices help kids and make an impact.

So as I am staring at names, like Jack Hanscom or Susan Cho, I always start to wonder. What are they like? What’s their favorite subject? My brain begins to align them with students from the past that I have had with similar names in English classes at my old school. Are they related? Do they play an instrument, a sport? The wheels turn, the water whooshes. I wish them a good school year. I stick the sticker, apply the case, and pile them up, and in my heart of hearts, I pray for their year and their life. Now maybe I’m crazy, but that was already debatable before this post, or maybe I’m normal. So, THAT – the idea that this type of thing is normal struck a chord with me the second I really took a moment to think about it.

Do students realize there is some woman sitting in a room over their summer break, applying their stickers with love and hope and faith in their existence? Most definitely not! I have met many students, and this would not occur to any of them. They get handed an iPad, they see their name, and it never registers that someone stuck it there.  Before I sound like I am resentful, I’m not because that would be RIDICULOUS to expect people to just realize this. How many times in my life have I overlooked the tiniest detail that had taken someone so long to invest in all for my use? My benefit. My world. My future. I bet I had done it hundreds of times. I bet I was doing it right then.

Boom.

This morning I got up poured coffee from the coffee pot that someone had to have made, actually many people had to have made, into a cup of the same circumstance. I put on the sandals my mom spent her own money to buy me and got into my car (we don’t need to do a full manufactured search to decide hundreds of hands made my car). I ordered a sandwich at lunch that took the person at the register 10 minutes of their day to create, and I walked around a construction site that was being worked on to fix and make safer roads for myself and my coworkers, and I really just could go on and on.

Laugh at me if you will. Really you wouldn’t be the first.

Now, are these people praying or wishing over every sandwich, pothole, coffee maker, jeep? How do you know smartypants? Would you have ever guessed sticker lady in tech-room 205 was sending positive thoughts your kids way over their school iPad? Exactly.

Now if you’re deep-ish like me, these things may only sometimes occur to you when you exist in your favorite hobbies and places. Maybe you’re a collector of something, and you admire the variables, structures, and changes that others have created in your favorite baseball cards, fishing lures, or spoons. Maybe you are hushed and awed by a boat that was touched and built only by one man that is worth lots of money, or a ship in a bottle someone spent time on. You see the magic in the touch of strangers in these moments.

If you and I are kin, you pick up a book, dust off the pages and open up someone else’s heart and soul and mind. You realize in that moment what it means, the work, the time, the hopes for it. You hear a piece of music and think wow, instrumentalists, editors, singers, producers, and more all sat in a room and let their passions connect and create this little thing that I get to listen to in exactly two-minutes-and-twenty-seven-seconds any time I want, and that’s a beautiful gift. Some of us realize those gifts. But do we realize the little gifts that we get every day?

So now, Friend, this is how I want, and I hope, that we can all look at our interactions, our little things, our daily gifts. If you think I’m crazy, or eccentric, I’ll add you to the list. If you connected with this, my heart is full. If you realize I took time out of my afternoon, and wrote these words, hoping someone would click, click, and read then you my friend, now know a piece of my soul and you understand why I pray over iPads. Why we should all stop and realize the hands that have touched our lives even in the loneliest of moments and the scariest of times.

Go out tomorrow or tonight and order a coffee from someone and hope they’ve wished you well over it. If they haven’t, wish them well, and hope they read this or realize this truth eventually. Every little wish and prayer matters. Every sandwich, coffee pot, and sticker. I choose to believe that everything I interact with I move in one direction or another, and I hope it’s positive, and I hope it’s true. So today, to quiet the river that whooshes, and to remember that people have moved mountains to provide me with a life, I plan to live it graciously and gratefully. I see a name, I place a sticker, and it’s no small task. It’s not even monotonous. It may not change a life, but it definitely touches one.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning to Live: Waiting Room Fantasies

Okay people of the interwebs, let’s pretend we’ve got some free time to chill out, relax, and thoughtfully read this entire blog. Humor me and enter this conversation and I promise you won’t regret dedicating a little time to yourself and your soul because today we are talking about fantasies. I recently just finished listening to Rachel Hollis’ new book, “Girl, Wash Your Face” but if you follow me on Social Media you probably already know that – I am obsessed. She discusses this idea that she thinks Mindy Kaling coined, I couldn’t find whether she did or not but I promise I tried – the idea is called a “Cardio Fantasy.” Yes, it is sort of a “first world problem,” but you’re reading this blog, so come on, you’ve got plenty of those. Anyway, this fantasy entails the things we do during Cardio Exercise to distract our bodies from exhaustion. Rachel suggests using these fantasies in all aspects of our lives as motivation but also a distraction from our most stressful and disastrous moments. You know you’ve done it, at the gym, in traffic, behind the most mouthy human at the pharmacy, wherever it was – I bet you have engaged in this type of metacognitive mind-play.

So take a moment and really let your brain go off. Invision a cardio fantasy before I bore you with my realization and analysis of my very own. Pick a place, a moment, an encounter, or a circumstance and sus out the details in depth. How will it smell, taste, or dear Lord, look? What will you be wearing, what will lead up to it, and what could result from it? Have fun friends. It’s your fantasy after all. 

……………………………………………………………………………… Okay, so are we engulfed yet?

Is it a performance, even though you can’t sing, in front of a sold-out crowd, where you ride a Unicorn on stage and headbang with an angelic voice as your fans go insane?

Is it maybe a log cabin high in the Smoky Mountains where your meals are cooked for you, a fire is always lit, and there is an abundance of wildlife and lack of irritable people honking horns or rolling eyes? You have wool socks and an oversized flannel and feel a footstep away from catching the largest fish or seeing a rare bald eagle fly overhead?

Is it an introduction to your favorite celebrity, you know, probably the one from your elevator list? Are you lost on the concept of elevator list? Google it. Anyway – you encounter them in a hotel lobby, and their gaze meets yours, and next thing you know they’re so interested in something about you that you can honestly tell them is no big deal before they ask you on a date, and you continue your life with Brad-Matt-Channing-Clooney. Or maybe Angelina-Jennifer-Amy-Lopez.

You get the idea.

I like visuals, so does Rachel. So I was thinking before a lengthy meeting that I wasn’t looking forward to, sure I can imagine visuals that might depict this fantasy for me, but can I find one that already shows, my ideal day, my fantastical moment, a space I want to exist? So I started reminiscing over old photos on my cell phone ankles crossed in a waiting room. And I strolled upon this one. IMG_2335

Now you may laugh. You may be confused. Or you may think, Here We Go, what a Bleeding-Heart-Book-Reading-Nerd-Face. That last sentence may have proved my point. But are you ready to know what I fantasized? My mind-me, she owns this place on this cute little street, in a city, she invented that has all of her favorite people in the world. It lives on the corner of future and past, and all can gather there, no matter if they are dead, alive, feuding, or fading. She makes a little money by selling coffee and desserts and sandwiches, but the books are free. Everyone that enters becomes kind and centered and open. There’s comfortable lounging space for friends to gather, soft music always playing, and even people who don’t like to read they come to visit her because she is happy. She cooks when she wants, but the food is there if she doesn’t, and dogs are always welcome. I’ll stop before I enter full-fledged fantasy land where things get crazy. So what’s the deal, why am I discussing this at all? I realized something, remember?

While Rachel urges this as a distraction and I wholeheartedly agree, it’s been fun right? I also think they can mean much more than just a simple amusement. When you dive into these fantasies, the spaces where we most want to be when we don’t want to be “here” you learn about yourself. In learning about this fantasy you might feel you got to know a bit about me, but I also got to learn things too. Guess what’s not included in my fantasy? The huge house I sometimes convince myself I need. The Social Media followers that I think may make me a “real” writer. The bank account, or the business card, or even the bunches of clothing, makeup, material things, and matters that actually don’t matter.

Now maybe your fantasy has a Benz, a Babe, and a Boob Job. Go for it. But here’s what I ask you to do today. Imagine it. Examine it. And then think about what pieces you can make accurate and real in this very realistic cardio-filled world. I can tell you, and I bet I can put more emphasis on friends and family and less on work. I bet I can spend a bit more time reading and a lot less time watching TV or scrolling my news feed. I can get another dog (if Willow won’t fight me). Someday I can even buy a bookstore. But if I am not mindful, and get too stuck in the waiting room, that’s what I will actually spend my life doing. Waiting. 

I Promise to Learn like a Child.

Alright friends, I have a question. Let me preface it with the fact that I did a little analyzing of the random compilations of reflections that I have been calling a blog. So I realized you may not see the full connection between why I have titled it what it is, as “Lauren Learns Life” especially when I have been at times trying to give advice or make judgments in these. I wholeheartedly believe that I have SO much to learn. I repeat – SO Much. If you know me and you’re thinking… “ya okay, she always thinks she’s right.” You aren’t wrong, but insight and reflection are my best friends and I do know that I have a lot of room to grow and learn, especially recently. This past week I attended an Insitute (Constructing Modern Knowledge) that reminded me of this fact, tenfold, but it also filled me with such excitement and motivation to move forward.  With that being said, when was the last time you started learning something from scratch, from the beginning, from the very first teeny piece of knowledge you’d ever been exposed to on a topic, skill, or project? Were you excited, discouraged, invigorated? 

I only ask, because this week I entered what I would actually like to call an “experience,” nervous, insecure, and in all honesty, feeling like a novice. My new career requires I be an expert on managing technology in “regular” ed classrooms, but this conference was filled with very non-regular technologically advanced individuals. On top of that, more than half of those in attendance currently live abroad, work at international schools, and I’m pretty sure, spend their spare time curing diseases, or potentially even inventing them. I’m only sort of kidding about the last part. Regardless of my digression, I had the initial instinct to withdraw to my hotel room when allowed, and not invest much at risk of looking stupid or silly or yes – inferior. That is until I met the right humans and found a project I felt spent in and began the very long and slow process of learning something brand new to me.

It was then, and quite suddenly that a feeling vaguely familiar but distant crept up on my soul. Currently when I learn it’s usually “more” about something. I learn new techniques to cook my favorite foods. I learn new authors that I enjoy reading or new stores that provide my favorite clothes or home decor. I learn of new coffee shops or ways to operate my devices. I learn new routes to the places I typically venture to. I learn things about raising a dog or buying a home or life insurance. These “learning experiences” are often in addition to or brought on by a job, life skill, or requirement of society. Yes, I used the big “S” word. But post-rambling, I ask again when was the last time you learned something for learning’s sake or because you wanted to? When was the last time you felt like a child learning to ride a bike, to grow a garden, or play scrabble? When was the last time you were so amazed by the way something works or exists you were caught energetic, giggling, and bouncing through the process on your own time? 

Friends, I urge you to find something that does this. I may have only learned how to power LED lights with copper conductive paint and tape, and the basics of computer-coding to power children’s robots, but it was fun and whimsical, and magical. I know I’m the one learning here, as I pointed out at the beginning but the highest order of learning is teaching, so let me try to impart a teeny-tiny-little piece of advice. We are all way too caught up in repeating, remembering, regurgitating life and what it is “supposed” to be- when we should be trying, testing, and taking chances at new things to experience it all. Have you wanted to take a painting class but feared the painting of the dog would look more like a horse or a sausage with legs? Me too. Maybe you’ve wanted to take a taekwondo class, become a beer connoisseur, or compost at home but time and work and life have gotten in the way. Well, friend, life is actually a lot more about those experiences than it is those repetitions. Go do it. Now. And don’t make excuses.

Not only did I leave that institute excited to move on in my computer skills, exhausted from laughing, and moved by other humans, but I left wanting so much more than just an idea for work. I was surrounded by people with different learning experiences than me, and with more “culture” than me, but friends, I didn’t feel inferior. I feel motivated. So I made myself some promises to follow upon exit. And hopefully to keep this feeling going. Are you ready? 

  1. I will travel more. Alone, with friends, with my mom, with my boyfriend. I don’t care. I need to experience the things my peers at this place discussed with glow in their eyes, and I need to fill my soul with the excitement of a child, instead of the stress of an adult who has a Monday, a Bank Account, and Bills to worry about. I will travel more, and I will make this happen, now.
  2. I will never forget the feeling of wonder. I can imagine the first time I took a creative writing class. The depths I felt I could discover of word choice, placement, and sound felt endless. I dove in like a scuba-diver to the Titanic, in search of excitement and treasures. I will seek out that wonder, even when it requires admitting my inexperience or lack of knowledge, and I will embrace it like a child.
  3. I will stop repeating and start reinventing and iterating myself. I promise to never stop learning new things, not just more of the same old things, or new ways to do what I’ve always done. Reinvention is key to existence and meaning. It is never too late to change a course of direction or a goal.

Now to clear this up well and wrap it up good, I am not a new person, and I am not going to sell my house and leave my dog and set off on a backpacking trip for the next five years (if that’s your plan, no judgment here). My soul is made of roots that are deeply embedded in the place I was born, where some others are made of wind or wheels. I find comfort in familiar faces and places and long for a legacy. But friends, I will practice growth from the roots up until I have wholly bloomed and grown. I am learning, always, and if you follow along, I promise I’ll share what I can.

 

 

Why We​ Should Learn to Stop’Connecting’ at Concerts: Put the Cell Phone Down!

My thoughts on here are usually based around education, young people, and technology. Today’s theme fits naturally then, and in all honesty, I don’t whine, but today I just could not help myself.

I am a country music fan, fight me if you please, but I am not ashamed. Regardless of genre, I found myself at a concert last night with a great friend, and even better, we had splurged for pit tickets up front. We both have had Keith Urban on our bucket list, concert list, and girls day list, so we were very excited to go to the perfect outdoor venue to enjoy a full show and a great night out. Yes, we are both twenty-somethings and enjoyed taking selfies, Snapchats, and Instagram pics standing in the pit, anxiously awaiting the performance. But in regard to those around us, I was shocked by how little we used our phones in comparison, and all night I kept wondering why.

I should add, we are slightly obsessed with live performances. We both get an electric high, that nothing can beat and when attending these concerts I can be sober, tired, sore – it doesn’t matter. Do you know what I mean? Years come off of my life and stress disappears when I get to bang my head, dance, and belt out the lyrics while feeling a connection with everyone around me, including the performers. The air can be sticky or extra cool, but the music still cuts my skin. It doesn’t matter the fame or notoriety – music is music- and it’s a gift. When people share their God-given talents in a way that can connect souls, give goosebumps, and take us away from the stress of the day to day, we all should be able to agree upon that one moment right?

So last night, the artists entered the stage and started to perform. We gushed, paused and then snapped a picture of each and took a few clips of our favorite song (10 seconds tops, I promise, you can search my phone). The rest of the show we sang, pointed, waved, bounced, laughed, and were so happy to be there – except when the – and I’m not even generalizing – Mom’s around us filmed the entire show on their cell phones. Yes, I know they were Moms for a fact since most had their kids with them, or I watched them text their kids, and yes I am not kidding, they videoed the entire show. One woman’s phone was at five percent and the video was over an hour long that she was holding up on her iPhone, directly in my line of sight. She must go to pilates or something because my arms would have been exhausted.

Now, I love the keepsake opportunity that cell phones provide, really. As a tech user and advocate, I enjoy checking in, tagging people on social media, and showing others what I’m up to. But I spent the whole show dodging the cell phones raised in front of my view, the ENTIRE time, and I kept wondering, why? Do we as humans even enjoy something when we video the whole thing? How often will they look back and watch the entire two-hour long video with excitement? Did they still feel the same way I did with a phone in front of their face? Could they multi-task and try and connect with the artists we were literally ten feet away from and film at the same time? Was Keith Urban himself frustrated every single time he stepped on stage and tried to have an intimate moment with fans only to be forced to look at the camera side of a device?

I’m not old-fashioned, and this may sound contradictory, but I use my cell phone for everything. I’m not complaining and mumbling about “Moms these days on their phones” like many people do about avid phone users. But in the educational technology field, and the world we live in, I constantly hear people complain about teenagers and millennials and their technology. Well let me just say, there were gaggles of teenage girls in the pit with us, many with their friends and yes, their moms. I honest-to-God barely saw a cell phone out of them, and I made it a point to check because I was actually getting frustrated at the amount someone else’s phone in my view was disrupting my connection with the heart and soul of the music. No matter what age group was doing this act against my concert-etiquette, I felt frustrated and confused about our evolution in such tender moments. It did make me think of our aptness to snap a picture of a serious accident, or intense moment and post it too soon. I know a concert doesn’t seem as serious as those instances to many, but to me, I was still clearly moved to concern.

 

Could this just be my one experience? Of course. Maybe it’s the only time it’ll ever pan out this way, and let’s say even the teenagers were doing it too. What role does videoing a fully live event have on our empathy, and relationship with music, performances, and in actuality life? Do you go to an event and feel it’s super important to film the entire thing? Do you feel like it wasn’t as important or “real” if you didn’t actually take full videos to post somewhere or share with friends? Will you not remember it as well? I know there are exceptions and reasons for everyone that does this possible, but I can’t help but wonder, if someone like me who so strongly views technology and phones as a positive tool and piece of equipment in our lives, why do I so strongly feel like this is something that can hurt our spirits and connections with one another after an event like this?

Why I am Learning to Say No: While keeping promises to myself.

Okay, friends, I’m going off the beaten path today and am venturing into something more personal than computer apps and classroom advice. So, I begin with a question. Has the universe ever pointed you in a very blatant direction, in one single day, that is so obvious it seems impossible? Riddle me this and stay along for the brief summary of Lauren’s July 2nd, 2018 or skip down to when I ridiculously vow a promise to myself for this Summer. Recently, I started my new job, and let’s just say it is going to be a big change, but hopefully, it will allow my life a lot of room for margin and growth. I agreed initially to start this new work on the 9th of July, so next Monday, until well, things got complicated. So I found myself leaving my job as a Teacher on a Wednesday and somehow because I’m a “yes” girl, starting this gig on a Thursday. This is absolutely not a poor reflection on my new boss or position, they are in need, and I’m sure it will pay off, because well – I don’t need to tell you all how important the first month at a job is right? Or apparently, explain the excuses I make at the expense of myself.

But so right now, I’m doing the nitty-gritty, back end, wrap up the school year in a Technology Office stuff. This entails scoping out confusing new processes for next year, scraping names off of iPads, and cleaning them for the next grade to take over and well – it’s mildly monotonous. Couple this with the fact that in Maine it is 95 degrees today and will be all week, and I was planning on spending this time at my family’s lake house, it’s not ideal.

But I am ALL about transitions and doing things when it comes to working right. When I said “yes” to this job though, everyone I know, and I mean everyone, kept emphasizing “Now Lauren, don’t do what you always do and get so over-invested and extra involved too fast..” It’s what I do. So I’m doing it, and I am “happy” to, I think. But I, of course, wanted to pass the time today and was missing out on some good summer lake reading, so I helped myself to Rachel Hollis’ audiobook of “Girl, Wash Your Face”. And for those of you that haven’t read it and need an awesome Summer read or a pick me up, get it, NOW. If you’re not a reader, or in need, that’s fine, I’ll give you my takeaway briefly from today’s listening of 9 chapters. Whoops.

Ms. Hollis as she’d preferably be referred to, emphasizes the concepts of saying “No” to time-sucks, and advocates for fighting for our dreams even when we are told No. Self-care is evident, but following a path of the Lord and honoring our God Given talents are also messages she pushes in an easy way. Mostly she emphasizes to us all, that we must stop comparing our lives to one another, saying that this often times this requires space, saying no, something I was a little irritated by at first, but came around to. I wanted to say, “Rachel I have to say Yes, it’s a NEW JOB, and I need to impress and make myself valuable.” Instead, I just listened and eventually, agreed.

So I left work and I felt a little moved, and I was thinking about what lists I could make to follow her guidance and what dreams I could achieve if I never let myself off the hook and kept myself accountable as she has guided. My brain reverted to some of that negative self-talk and I began to think about the diets I quit or how much less I’ve gone to the gym lately, and even the manuscripts on my computer that are unprinted (her and I are twins right?). So I drive to the store, buy a Fourth of July outfit, run home and let the dog out, make Josh dinner, and catch the Monday night sermon at my local church because I worked my second job yesterday. I walk in and sing, sit down, and listen and into my ears comes the discussion of establishing Margin, or the space in our life needed to live comfortably and righteously.

Without getting on my pedestal because I’m honestly pretty new to church as well, I just want to say this….today I was told by someone or something to start saying No, twice. And friends, my sweet friends, I’m going to need your help. I’ve had my mother, my co-workers, my boyfriend, and sometimes even my dog when she gives me that adorable look, tell me to start saying No. If you know me, and you’ve done it, and you’re reading this – congratu-fricking-lations. Also, I need to know, how often do you say no to things for good reasons? The kind of reasons that provide you with a quiet day with family, or space to heal your soul? When do you say no, to put you and your mental health first, or your relationship with your Husband, Wife, the Lord, or anyone else above the extra meeting, volunteer time, coffee date, or dare I say it, workout class? How do you know when to do it? How do you know when not to? Does it matter if you offend someone or put them out? I’m going to spend this summer figuring it out.

The other message that Rachel Hollis has really emphasized is not to break promises to yourself. This is so important to me and I vow to you all that I am going to start here today. Not tomorrow, but today. Are you ready? This Summer I will not break this promise. I will say No to things that hurt my self-peace, my body’s well being to function and my heart. I will say No so that I can live with a space of margin financially, mentally, physically, and spiritually. And I will do this for me, and I will most likely need your help. Thank you Universe!

Learning How to Relax This Summer Break for Teachers: Featuring Notability and Apple Pencil

So if you’re anything like me, Summer as a teacher is a struggle. While I enjoy the time off and the space from my kids and co-workers (whoops), it can be hard to fully let go and let be. My mind races with how to improve for my new classes, what things I should try out “now that I have the time, and any day I spend fully at the beach, lake, or on the couch, I feel a little bummed I wasn’t working to improve my classroom and curriculum.

Now if you’re one of those teachers that I am so jealous of – that is at the point in your career where you think of summer as what it should be.. IGNORE THIS. If you shut your laptop and don’t open it until the week before school, have a killer tan, relaxed vibe, and don’t even consider what you’re teaching until August 18th… like I said. IGNORE THIS.

But for those of you that can’t shut your teacher brain off, have no fear. I am starting the process of mastering this little thing we call a vacation, by using a few planning strategies and questions that let me feel productive, but limit how far I can go down the rabbit hole of planning, instruction, and yes decorating.

So I’ve been using my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil to create planning documents and journals on Notability, and it has helped my brain feel clear and stress-free. So this Summer, mark my words, I am only sticking to the three topics and pages I made to reflect and plan with.

1. Apps to try! 

So the first thing I think of, because let’s be honest for me it’s fun, are applications to try for my classroom. I create a notability document and start to find examples of things from Instagram like Tara Martin’s Book Snaps idea (INGENIOUS)! Or a new application for something that seems like it’s my style such as Now Comment. I’ll keep a running list and try them out, whenever-I-damn-well-please-because-it’s-summer, and be on my way. Sometimes surfing blogs, twitter, and websites help us get our brain thinking in a far removed sort of way. It’s just far removed enough for us to feel like we are “developing” over vacation and still feel fun! 

2.  Last Year’s Successes

The other thing that is “fair game” is the successes of last year. We tend to always focus on the things that crashed and burned in front of our eyes with kids there as witnesses either giggling or in frustration. Instead, it’s awesome to pick 1, 3 or 23 things that we are proud of and consider why they went well, and how to make them even better. This makes us feel like we can have a great year, and it really allows us to consider why some things go better than others. Is it because we genuinely “like” that more, or because we took a week to plan it out first, maybe we formatively assessed before delivering, or it was just a good day! All in all, it’s reasonable to consider that reflection is such an important part of teaching and we can pick up and put down the pen whenever just the thought of that unit makes us tired! 

3. Time Saving Improvements

So sometimes we find yourself in the midst of copying, planning, scanning, or preparing and think… why didn’t I do this when I had the time? Summer is another awesome opportunity to plan and complete those ‘mindless’ tasks we all love. Maybe it is photocopying all 10 lessons of vocabulary for semester 1, or uploading the files to your website or favorite application. It may also mean going through and scrutinizing the order of our plans (if we get to repeat the same courses), or more. But regardless, it is safe to say that as educators there is always something to do. Summertime can have us relax while monotonously cutting out all the words for our word wall, as long as we have a beer or margarita in our hand right? Yup, I said it. 

So wrapping up don’t feel guilty if these are the only three things you get to this summer. Don’t even feel guilty if you don’t, you read this, and that counts. Just know if you have a restless brain that can’t sit still, and you need a little time, these are the easiest ways to feel successful and planned! Oh and I’m not an artist but come on, Notability and the iPad Pro and Pencil are seriously the best planning tool ever. So even if all you do is play around on yours and write out your grocery list or weekend plans, you’re ‘developing’ as a professional I would say.