Yesterday I took the chance to walk to work. I live close to my school, but I don't often walk.
Yesterday, though, I felt the need. So I did.
On the walk, I spent some time reflecting on the school year that's drawing to a close. On the students I've gotten to teach, whose faces I've gotten to know; on the countless colleagues I admire who won't be teaching next year, heading into earlier-than-expected retirements; on the faces of colleagues I've visited with in schools around the country.
And I'll tell ya — it felt good to just think on these things, think on these groups of people.
I also asked myself something I've been doing a lot lately: what's next for me in my work?
I mean, I know teaching's involved. I know I love my school and my students and my small town in West Michigan — blemishes and all, these are a people and a place I'm called to.
And I know writing's involved. I know there are so many ideas and sentences and paragraphs and articles and chapters in me that need out. Ten years into my blogging experiment (the blog's birthday was just a week ago!), and I can think of no other professional activity as gratifying as corresponding with you via the things I'm thinking and learning.
Teaching and writing, helping schools and teams, learning and sharing: these aren't going anywhere for me. Whether the coming year's labors help 1 or 100 students, help 1 or 1,000 colleagues — I intend to do it.
But that doesn't mean I intend to ignore my soul's need for rest this summer.
So, over the next couple of weeks, I'll be sharing a series of brief exercises meant to help us shut down our school years.
Beginnings and endings are important in this work — but not just because of how they impact our students. They're important for us, too.
To close out the article, let me suggest an exercise for this weekend: take a walk. And as you do, reflect on:
- Students you've taught this year.
- Colleagues you've known this year who are retiring or switching careers.
- The work you have ahead of you — meaning, the work your soul feels tugged toward.
The walk won't resolve all the hard and difficult and confusing that these questions may bring; but amidst all that muck, I promise there's good.
Best to you,