The theme for this week’s Talks with Teachers May Challenge is restoration, which is quite a natural fit for teachers approaching summer vacation. Our project for the week is to share a list of 10 or more goals for the summer.
Although I have completed seven years of teaching, this upcoming summer will be my first “summer off” from any formal teaching or professional development activities. Following my first three years of teaching, I served as a volunteer teacher in the Dominican Republic. Following my fourth and fifth year of teaching, I worked in Boston Public Schools’ summer school programs, and last summer, I completed the required practicum for my reading specialist license at MGH’s Speech, Language, and Literacy Center.
This summer, however, my primary focus will be on my health and my family with professional goals of secondary importance. Additionally, as I will not return to work from my maternity leave until January, the timeline for my goals extends into the fall.
My Summer and Fall Goals
1. Establish a reading routine with my daughters.
My twin daughters, Sofia and Francine, are due on June 16th. It is really important for me to establish a reading routine with them from infancy. I have already begun to read to them every time that I am riding in the car with my husband driving. We also read to them at night before we go to sleep. Thanks to my teacher friends, my daughters already have a small library of books (in both English and Spanish) to enjoy! I am really looking forward to sharing my love of reading with my daughters.
Sofia and Francine’s Little Library Space: the bottom two shelves of one of our bookshelves
2. Create a playlist of Spanish songs for my daughters.
I love listening to music in Spanish. I listen to mainly reggaetone and bachata, however, which I think is better for dancing than a sing-along. I would like to take the time to find some mid to slow tempo music in Spanish to sing along with for Sofia and Francine. (Please comment if you have any ideas!)
3. Take my daughters to the Curious George Room at the Cambridge Public Library.
Recently my colleague Paula Leoni sent me photographs of this delightful children’s reading space at the Cambridge Public Library’s main branch. I definitely want to spend an afternoon there with Sofia and Francine, and I would love to get their pictures in front of the beautiful Curious George murals. Apparently, there are quite a variety of activities, including lapsits and concerts, there as well.
Gateway to Heaven?: The Entrance to the Curious George Room (photo: Paula Leoni)
4. Bring the girls to the Infant and Toddler Storytime at our local branch of the Boston Public Library.
BPL Roslindale is our local branch of the Boston Public Library, only a short walk from our house. I am looking forward to taking Sofia and Francine to the infant and toddler storytime offered on Tuesday mornings.
5. Take long walks again.
Recently, for longer outings, my husband and I have had to rent a wheelchair for me from a local medical supply store. This is so frustrating as I normally take walks of three to eight miles around Boston when the weather is nice. But lately, I really can’t go more than twenty minutes due to either my lungs or my legs. I really look forward to taking many walks this summer, as I usually do!
6. Connect back into my running.
The most difficult part of my pregnancy, both mentally and physically, was having to give up running. Running has been a big part of my life since 2009, when I completed my first 5K race. I am by no means a very fast runner, but I absolutely love putting on my headphones and going for a long run. It just clears my mind and body of all stress, and I often get my best ideas when running. Running often allows me to clearly think through large tasks or just to be creative inside my own mind. I completed a half-marathon in October of 2012, and I hope to eventually run a marathon, but my post-pregnancy goal is to complete a 5K by the end of September.
Runner’s High: Feeling Great After a Race in Salem, MA in Spring 2013 (Portrait with Whale Mural)
7. Find a meaningful 1-credit education class.
I am one credit shy of receiving a higher salary, so I hope to find a 1-credit education class that I can take online. Boston Public Schools History Coach Sharon Ennis suggested Facing History courses, but unfortunately the online courses offered take place in June, too close to my due date. I think I would prefer to take an online course in adolescent literature if I can find one. (Again, please comment below with any suggestions).
8. Work through Teacherpreneurs.
I recently purchased the book Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave. From just skimming the pages, the book seems to be a combination of a text book as well as a book that encourages discussion and reflection on the role of a teacher leader. I am at a point in my career where I really want to think about my next moves as an educator, and I think this book with help me to unpack my career desires.
9. Participate in the Talks with Teachers Summer Book Club.
I just today signed up for the Talks with Teachers Summer Book Club, which is a completely free online book club for teachers in which we will read three books. In June, the selection will be a novel; I voted for Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which has been on my Goodreads to-read list for quite some time. A non-fiction selection will be chosen for July, followed by a back-to-school professional book in August.
10. Figure out how to participate in a Twitter chat.
I see great chats for educators advertised on Twitter all the time, and I just need to sit down and figure out how to navigate them. (Once again, please comment with any assistance!)