Rhythms of Summer
life and lessons from a teacher’s summer of 2020
Summers are usually a pretty busy time around here but in the best way! We always take a family vacation, try to tackle a big house project, and fill our days with saying yes to fun & sunshine.
This summer, I tackled the big house project before June 1st. Then, I stared at pages and pages of my blank planner and, honestly, became overwhelmed by the emptiness. Eight. Weeks. Nothing to do. I fell into a bit of a funk, allowing days to slip by, writing out daily routines but quickly abandoning them to mindlessly scroll social media and the news.
On top of my own disappointment, I had to turn to my children and give them the news that summer camp was cancelled for the year. Oh yeah, and so was the family vacation. Oh yeah, and they couldn’t really spend time with their friends like we normally do. Of course, these are privileges that we simply enjoy in the summer and it’s not the end of the world that we will go one summer without but, upon seeing their disheartened faces, I knew I had to be in charge of turning this summer around.
For me, I know that my phone is a joy-sucker in my life. So, first things first, I started putting my phone into a drawer every morning so that my creative juices could flow and I could infuse some festivity into our lives. I Googled some fun activities to try while in quarantine so that we could spice things up from what had become our routine during the school year. We made Lucky Charm cookies, played a new board game, and hope to make candles soon! When my kids asked me to do something I might normally hesitate to do (“Mom, wanna ride bikes in the 95-degree weather?”), I made an effort to say “Yes!” I made sure to make time for myself too. My teacher bestie and I made a weekly, socially-distant pool date to soak up some sun and catch up. She is eight months pregnant, which made our outside-only friendship complicated, but we made the best of things.
That’s been my mantra this summer: Make the best of things. And you know what? We’ve had fun. We’ve simplified but it’s been delightful in new ways.
As summer of 2020 starts to draw to a close, I am slowly making an attempt to return to routines so that I’ll be more prepared for work in August: turning off Netflix and going to bed at a reasonable hour, setting an alarm to wake up earlier, and eating on a more defined schedule. I always want to rebel against this responsible self (“It’s summer and I do what I want!”) but I know this will help my transition back to school go much smoother, so I start adjusting at the end of July. I usually try to hit the ground running starting August 1st, so I’m also starting to shift my thinking toward the new school year. Of course, this year brings new challenges. I am, like every parent, filled with stress. I’m not sure what to do about my kids returning to school in the fall. I am, like every teacher, filled with anxiety about what the new school year will hold for myself and for my students.
In my devotion this morning, the word that came to me was: steadfast. There is so much that I cannot control right now, but I want to be unwavering in carrying forward the lessons I’ve learned this summer. To be a joy-infuser for my family and my students. Be creative and say yes to opportunities, even if they look a little different than normal. Be a steady guide for those who are relying on me to lead. Make the best of it.
How have you made the best of it this summer, despite the circumstances? Let’s celebrate the small things together!
If you are looking for more ways to calm school-related stress, click here to read prayers to pray over your students.