Thank You, Teachers!

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Synopsis

This article was written in gratitude—to express appreciation to teachers. Here are six R and R ideas to help educators make the most of summer.

Albert Einstein said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Teaching IS an art, and also a calling. However, there is no doubt that teaching is demanding. The work is complex. Educators face countless daily responsibilities, decisions, and challenges. They have to be resourceful, well informed, receptive, and flexibly responsive. This is invigorating, but it can also be exhausting.  

That’s why it’s a summer priority for teachers to take ample time to Relax and Recharge. Downtime—or R and R—is a key to well-being. And, well-being is important for creating the best possible learning environments come the start of the school year—environments that will foster children’s intellectual growth, creativity, and social and emotional health. 

Aside from relaxation, however, what else can be beneficial for teachers over the summer months? In recognition that for most educators, ten months of the years are arduous, and two are potentially restorative, I’d like to share some summertime and R ideas with teachers, as a way to say thank you for all that you do. 

1) Read. 

“Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time.”

~ Edwin Percy Whipple (literary critic) 

Reading for pleasure is, well, pleasurable. However, it can be stimulating to also give some thought to what you don’t know, or may want to learn more about. It might have to do with gifted education, or child development, or differentiation, or time management, or creative expression… Seek information, stretch your boundaries—and enjoy! 

2) Raise the bar on personal happiness.

 “Don’t put the key to happiness in someone else’s pocket.”

~ (anonymous)

Your outlook, emotions, and attitude have an impact on whether you feel fulfilled, and on what happens in your day-today interactions. By increasing your level of joy and positivity you can enhance the dynamics of your life (including, by the way, what transpires in the classroom). What can you do to make yourself happier?

3) Reconnect.  

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.”

~ H. E. Luccock (minister and professor)

Summer is often less hectic than other months, so it can be a good time to do some extra networking, develop relationships, share ideas, and build collaborative and creative opportunities. Celebrate successes with others—including family, friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances—and consider how to join forces and create new successes together. 

4) Resolve to become a better listener.  

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

~ Ralph G. Nichols (author)

Good communication is an essential aspect of life (and effective teaching), so it‘s important to be an active and attentive listener. Learning to listen more intently, more openly, and more responsively can be revitalizing. Birds, waves, laughter, breezes… The experience of summer offers the chance to tune into wonderful sounds, and to become a better listener. 

5) Reflect. 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

~ Eckhart Tolle (spiritual teacher)

Nourish your body but also find ways to replenish your soul, and spirit. Quiet moments, restful interludes, recreational breaks, and other opportunities to reflect can reinforce your capacities, spur creative possibilities, and be powerful motivators, too. 

6) Realize the passion. 

“Over time it is the love of one’s work that drives the effort, discipline, and perseverance that is required for productive achievement.”

~ Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster (authors) 

Passion is an important driving force for personal and professional success. Passion fuels accomplishments. The summer months are a great time to take pride and pleasure in all that you have achieved, to reaffirm your strengths, and to embrace all that you aspire toward achieving in the future.  

Wishing all teachers a wonderful, relaxing, and happily productive summer!

Resource Information

Find out about books and articles written by Dr. Joanne Foster, check out helpful links, and tap into resource material by visiting www.joannefoster.ca Information about professional development workshops and speaker sessions with Dr. Foster can also be found at this website.

Author’s note: Hopefully parents will consider how these six R and R suggestions might benefit them as well, and they will also share the ideas with teachers they know and admire. Thanks!

Tags: creativity, education, joanne foster, psychology, teacher, teacher-student relationships, teachers

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