The holidays are over. The mad scramble is past. I hope you rejoiced with family and friends. Facebook was filled with greetings exchanged with those too far away to see over the holidays, and it was good to see us embracing the feeling of “Goodwill to All.”
Much as we enjoy the excitement of the season, it’s good to have time to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate. (I seem to be finding a lot of “r” words.) This is the “between time.” This the quiet period as we celebrate the New Year and get back to our normal daily routines. Fallow periods are necessary to promote growth.
Take a tip from the ancient Romans who pictured Janus, their god of gates and doors for whom January is named, as having two faces. One looking forward and the other backward. Before you completely close the gate on 2014, make time to reflect back on the year that ended. Remember the good things that occurred. Think of the students you helped. The ones who thanked you, and those who did so without words. What we do is too important not to acknowledge. And if we don’t recognize our contribution, how can we expect anyone else to do so.
Even if you keep your acknowledgements to yourself, it will make change the way you interact with teachers and students. Remember, most communication is non-verbal. Without being aware of it, our thoughts and attitudes influence how we stand, hold our arms, and walk. Others pick up on these non-verbal clues. Whether we hold ourselves in high self-esteem or feel downtrodden, we send a message. Which one do you want to send?
Many people make New Year’s resolutions (another “r” word), and for some this works. On the whole, good intentions seem to evaporate sometime before January is over. When it happens, the tendency is just to give up—and that is true failure. Rather than resolutions, “re-focus.” Don’t wait until New Year’s Day. By then you are likely to be bemoaning that winter vacation passed so quickly. You didn’t do everything you hoped to accomplish, and now you are scrambling to get ready to get back to work.
Make some time and sit down with a pad or tablet, and contemplate what is coming up in the months from January until the end of the school year. What units do your teachers do? How can you make them a better learning opportunity for students? How can you share that information with teachers? Are there apps and websites you want to explore to refresh the ways you capture student interest? Can you find out from your students which ones are exciting them? Now that school has started back up, you will be busy, but do what you can to make time at the beginning – or the end – of each of your days to check in with your goals and to-do’s. Each time you do, you’ll reconnect (!) with your passion and continue to be energized and raring to go.