As I continue to read Striving to Thriving, I'm getting bombarded with ideas. Some of the ideas are coming directly from the book. For example, the book mentions many things that classroom teachers can do to help get to know their students and build a classroom community beginning on the very first day. Many of the ideas are excellent and will be easy to add to my practice. I find myself drawing little hearts in the margins or underlining. Sometimes, my notes in the margins are longish. I know it is an excellent book when I feel compelled to interact with it. Some of the ideas that I'm getting are not necessarily coming directly from the book but are definitely inspired by the book. Regardless of the source of the ideas, my to-do list is quickly growing.
Thankfully, I've got some stress free items on the to-do list. For example, I'll be giving students an opportunity to share where in life they are a specialist as a way to get to know one another a bit better. For example, between grades 2 and 5 my son was obsessed with the Titanic and sharks. He really was a specialist when it came to these subjects. My daughter has been dancing since she was two and would likely consider herself a specialist in dance knowledge and technique. Giving my students the opportunity to share where their specialties lie will help us to begin the work of community building. It is on my to-do list but it really doesn't add much to my work load. However, after reading about how important it is to offer engaging literature to ensure my kids have access to books they'll love to read has me wanting to completely re-organize my classroom library. It really is robust but it needs a face lift. This won't be hard work but it will take time. This is a more stress inducing item on my to-do list.
I spend the better part of the summer on Cape Cod with my family. I'm fairly intense for 184 school days (and on the weekends and weeks in between). My family says that I am a completely different person during summer vacation. When I ask them what they mean by this they have a hard time explaining. I think, generally, I'm just more chill. Of course, this doesn't happen right away. It takes a couple of weeks for the chill to set in. We got off to such a late start this year due to snow days, CCD once school got out, and a sickly start to summer for my daughter. Here it is, the end of July, and I'm finally getting my summer on. And now I'm adding things to my list that can only be achieved by being physically present in the classroom. This is where the stress sets in. I wish I was the type of person who could just put off the classroom library make-over off till Fall. I can't. It'll need to be done for the first day of school. That's just how I am. Finding the balance is always so hard for me. I know I need the rest. I know I need to recharge my battery AND I know that I'll want everything buttoned up and rather perfect for the start of school.
I think, as a teacher, I'm stuck in striving mode and I'm seriously beginning to wonder if I'll ever transition to thriving.