Monday, May 27, 2013

Recharge Your Batteries

Last August I wrote about teachers who, like the football great, Jerry Rice, train hard in the off-season. I still believe it's true that some of the best teachers out there are those who train (pedagogically, in their content area, with technology, etc.) between the end of school one year and the beginning of school the following year. However, as this year winds down for most of the nation's educators, I want to present a different perspective on the off-season for teachers.

image borrowed from
Teaching and/or educational leadership requires huge amounts of energy. Anyone in education will (or should) attest to this statement. Regardless of how well a year goes, how well we take care of ourselves, or how much rest we get during holidays, there are years that drain us of our energy and leave us with little or no gas left in our tanks. Or, to use a different metaphor, some years simply drain our fuel cells, our batteries, of all available energy.

Thankfully, our Creator has designed each of us with rechargeable batteries. In my home, I have no fewer than six sets of rechargeable batteries and they are all different in form and function. I have rechargeable batteries for a few different cameras, for the Xbox controllers, for my laptop, for my kids' RC toys, for my power tools, and more. No two sets of these rechargeable batteries look the same or use the same charger to refill the cells with power. Similarly, our Creator wired each of us differently. We all have batteries that need recharging, but our batteries become renewed in different ways according to how we were designed.

When my batteries run low, I need to sit on the couch or by the pool and read, have down time with my family, and do as little activity as possible. For others I know, running recharges their batteries (though I can't comprehend that). Still others seek activities like attending concerts, traveling, shopping, working around the house or in the garden, attending church more often, gathering frequently with friends, and the list goes on.

As an educator, when you find your batteries running on reserve power, you must recharge them. Battery-powered anythings do not function properly when battery power runs low. Humans operate the same way and full power is a must for educators. How can we inspire, teach, lead, create, innovate, manage, respond, mentor and empower when we aren't operating at maximum capacity? If you don't know exactly what recharges your batteries, I would encourage you to explore personality profiles like the Birkman or others to help you discover exactly how you're wired. Just be sure you start each school year with your fuel cells topped off. In order to do that, though, you must be strategic and intentional with recharging your batteries during the summer.

Need some ideas for recharging your batteries? Try some of these:

  • read a book
  • re-read a favorite book
  • start writing the book you've always wanted to write
  • finish writing the book you started
  • start attending church
  • attend church more often
  • spend time in museums
  • find a hobby
  • reacquaint yourself with the hobby you've been neglecting
  • spend more time with your significant other
  • explore foreign or independent films
  • remodel a room in your home
  • explore new restaurants around town
  • develop good sleep habits
  • start exercising
  • return to your exercise routine
  • make a list of adventures to try
  • begin a regimen of writing (by hand) encouraging notes and letters
  • spend time sorting boxes of old photos
  • commit to performing random acts of kindness each day or week
  • travel to a favorite location filled with memories
  • travel to a new destination and make new memories

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