“Are you waiting for the season, or are you preparing for it?”

What do teachers do in the summer?  I can’t speak for others, but I spend it getting better.  Nothing is worse than taking 10 weeks off and expecting to excel right out of the gate.  I’m sure some can do that, but I don’t want to take the chance. I spend the 10 weeks finding things and getting better.  This is how my summer went:

First: I explored the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my family.  Sure, we spent our fair share of time on a beach and taking our first family vacation in the place that it began 6 years ago.  But we also visited historic sites pertinent to our curriculum, like Roanoke Island, site of the first English settlement in America.  We took a trip to Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands, home of unique culture and maritime history, including 100’s of shipwrecks.  Also a half dozen lighthouses, the First Flight site, and “wild horses” that are supposedly decedents of conquering Spanish explorers.  Aside from being quality family time, it was intellectually rejuvinating and gave me some cool stuff to use in class. A perfect trip.

I read.  By no means prolific, but between 2.5 jobs and bettering myself as a teacher and dad, I got a good deal in.  I read too many blogs to count.  Thanks, Twitter!  But aside from little pieces here-and-there, I read several great books.  I’ll spare you the details because a reader of this blog likely doesn’t care.  But they all gave me great stuff to be an even better teacher this year

Next I attended a We The People training institute, which will enhance our instruction of the Constitution with a mock Congressional Hearing.  These things are done at the HS level as State and National Championships.  We won’t be able to do that, but it’s going to add a whole new dimension to our instruction of the Constitution, not to mention this institute provided me with great resources and ideas.

Finally, I spent two months with my girls… our Lakeview  Basketball teams.  We hosted open gyms twice a week, worked individually with girls in before and after practice sessions, and competed in Lemont High School’s Summer League.  I don’t love coaching for the winning (though that’s fun!), but for getting to develop the character and work ethic of these young ladies.  All summer, girls from 5th grade (that’s right – not even LV students yet!) to 11th grade scrimmaged, competed, and had fun in a loose setting.  It’s a great chance to just play ball – no drills, no pressure to perform, no homework… it’s just a great time to spend with kids and have fun.  Competitively, this was our best Summer League team, too… with only 4 8th graders regularly contributing.  New 6th and 7th graders played outstanding, and posted a nearly 20 point per game improvement from game to game throughout the summer.  Teaching basketball provides us with some wonderful experiences, as this summer was.  For Mason and I, the best part of many Tuesdays and Thursdays was heading to Prarieview for practies, games, and open gyms.   Big thanks to all the girls who came out nearly every week, and to LV alum and DGS Senior John Holakovsky for his continued work with the girls.

That’s it.  I love working hard and doing a great deal of preparation for the kids.  Come August 24th, I’m excited and a better teacher for it all.