Sunday, July 30, 2017

Going Back to Work

     Going back to work... There's more here than meets the eye. First, the new school year starts for me in two days, so I will be going back to work in the most traditional and obvious sense very soon. Second, I have taken a hiatus from posting here for some time but I will be returning the blog to record, reflect and share ideas, so this will be a different kind of work for me. Third, I have committed to take better care of me physically, emotionally and intellectually than ever before, and that is yet another kind of work.
     Allow me to make a confession. I love summertime as much as anyone else in education and I often find myself clinging to the last days of July, wishing they would pass by just a little more slowly. Don't get me wrong. I love being a high school principal and that's what I am meant to be doing right now. It's a tough job, though, and a job that requires a great deal of emotional and physical energy. Summer provides me the time I need to recharge to get ready to hit the ground running when the new school year arrives so I covet my summer days and nights. As I mentioned, my summer ends shortly and that time for me will be here in less than 48 hours. Gasp!
     Every year, though, something interesting happens a few days before I return to school, and it happened again this weekend. I woke up this morning completely energized and entirely ready for the year. Just like that, I'm recharged and ready again. Well, sort of... In truth, I never fully disconnect from the previous year and I never really keep the upcoming year at arm's length. While I don't spend hours during any given summer day reflecting or thinking ahead, I do spend mental energy doing both at least a few minutes each day. I read books, articles, blogs, tweets and more. I jot down ideas for calendar items, themes for the year, points of emphasis for the year, and topics for assemblies, faculty meetings, new-teacher in-service and more as they come to me, but I often don't dwell on them. Instead, I let these ideas swirl around, largely unsupervised, in my mind all summer and then - I promise it happens every year - I wake up one morning and I have concrete ideas and energy to spare. That morning was this morning, and I've spent a significant amount of time today thinking and preparing mentally for this week, the following week, the week the kids return and beyond. Let the record show that I am ready to go back to work.
     At least one of you has noticed (you know who you are and you may indeed be the last of your kind) that I have not posted here for quite a while. Most of the mental energy it takes to write has been devoted to a creative writing project. I won't bore you with the details here right now, but it has taken much of my spare time and creative energies. I'm only a fraction of the way through it, so don't expect any announcements any time soon. Nevertheless, I have been thinking for a few months now that returning to my blog might be a good idea. I think it will be healthy for me. I like (read need) to hash out ideas in writing and I certainly will be exploring new ideas and new perspectives in my professional life in the coming weeks, months and years. Additionally, my hope is that some of the things I share here will be helpful to you, too. My goal will be to blog and continue writing creatively, and that's going to require a lot of energy. Let the record show that I am ready to go back to work.
     As I wrap up a successful tenure at one school and begin a new chapter in my life at another school, I already know that the new job will require me to be at the top of my game. To prepare for that challenge, I have worked hard this summer (and the past several months, actually) to make sure that I am in the best shape possible physically, mentally and intellectually. I have devoted serious time and energy to taking care of my body, my mind and my soul recently. I can say without hesitation that I am in the best overall shape I can remember. In fact, I'm pretty sure my overall health right now is better than it ever has been. I am not finished, though. My commitment is to continue to improve. Why now? I know I have a responsibility to my new team, my new kids, and my new community, while I still have an ongoing responsibility to myself, my family and my friends. This is going to take a lot of effort. Let the record show, however, that I am ready to go back to work.
     I realize this post borders on reflective rambling so I am thankful you are still reading. The next post, though, will be substantive and will touch on each of these aforementioned ideas as I talk more about my new position, the new challenges it will present me, and - most importantly - how this new chapter will require a new improved version of me. I hope you will follow along as I share this and many other reflections and ideas, some of which I've been considering for quite a while and some of which I am sure will surprise me along the way.

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