Saturday, December 6, 2008
The Writes of Summer
As we approach the end of the Australian school year, I am aware of the level of exhaustion that abounds in schools, -and the need to tie up a multitude of loose ends prior to school closing for the summer holidays. Teaching becomes a race to the finish line.
I am also aware that there is a period of time appearing on the summer horizon when teachers will have some free time to relax and regenerate their energy reserves.- A time for relaxation, holidays, family and recreation. For those of you who have intentions of adopting a new approach to aspects of your teaching in 2009, may I suggest that the summer holidays might present a great opportunity to embrace the inner writer and commence your very own writer’s notebook. I know many of you read extensively when you are on vacation. Free of the pressure of the classroom, it is possible to indulge in more personal reading; becoming re-acquainted with favourite authors, or to read that book you received as a gift. It seems logical to add a little writing to your extra time. If you do this, it will mean that when the new school year begins you will have compiled a sampling of text that will assist you to model aspects of writing to a fresh group of students. It will give you immediate writing credibility with your students. You will have captured summer memories, made lists, gathered artefacts, made drawings, gathered photos etc that will assist you to connect more easily to your students –Well that’s the plan!
I urge you to get started over the break and not wait until the school year begins. It will be too late then and you will be overwhelmed by administrative demands and organizational matters –you get the picture, I’m sure. The world is full of people who are full of good intentions. The challenge is to turn one’s self into an action figure.
Just as you want your students to make a good start to the school year, you should expect the same for yourself. I’m not suggesting you to write to a rigid schedule, just quarantine a little time to document some of the rich pickings of your summer. It will be a great investment in designing curriculum – and its painless! I am not suggesting that you dedicate yourself to just writing about summer exclusively. As always you should focus on matters that are important to you. Maybe your reading may spark your writing, who knows?
I’m sorry, but there is no better time to send this message. I need to reach you now while you still have your educators cap on. Hopefully, it isn’t pulled down over your eyes and your hands aren’t over your ears.
This summer, don’t just dive into the surf. Dive into some writing. Try to approach writing, in the manner that we so often approach summer reading. The writes of summer could be the stimulus to launch a great new school year in 2009! I can’t offer a free set of steak of knives with that, but I know it comes with certain intrinsic rewards.