On Feeling Restlessness

As a more relaxed Type A personality, I enjoy having a plan.  I thrive in my plans.  Each year I draft a detailed Classroom Management Plan outlining exactly how I want my classroom to run, the rules, the rewards, etc.  Sometimes I follow the plan.  Other times I do not.  That plan always exists in some varying degree (even if it is a tweaked version of one from a previous year).

Right now I am on summer vacation for two straight months. After spending almost a week at the beach, I am now in retiree country (a.k.a. Central Florida) and I’m feeling restless.

Why?

This summer I have been trying something new.  While I usually immerse myself in Professional Development offerings (as an attendee or facilitator), this year I have opted to travel.  This has been a long time coming and certainly well-deserved.  The time I am spending in Florida is only the first leg of essentially a three-leg U.S. tour.  Of course, I planned a lot of it…and then I didn’t.

Long before my trip I had been working on infusing more mindfulness within my life.  As an educator, I am naturally quite reflective, but I wanted to take the time to reflect and sit still within my thoughts about my being me.  The whole me.  The me beyond the classroom.

My first public school
Caribbean Elementary School: Miami, FL

Great things, opportunities, and stories have arisen from me letting go of the specific details of this trip.  I was able to stay a couple more days in Miami, visit my childhood home, my elementary school, have lunch with my favorite elementary school teacher, have dinner with my surrogate mom and dad (plus sister and nephew who promptly told me that he loved me), and meet up with a wonderful college pal that I hadn’t seen in almost a decade.  It was absolutely fantastic.

Mrs. J. and Me
My first/third grade teacher and me

Right now I am sitting on a couch in my grandparents’ living room, watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals and am coming off the peak of a feeling of restlessness.  In thinking about it, I suppose it stems from a sense of excitement, uncertainty, and wanting to predict/plan the future.  I am really excited about some amazing things happening in my professional life, other wonderful opportunities are making their way to me as well, and I’m traveling to places I have never been (or haven’t seen in years) this summer.  With all of these things, I am having to remind myself that yes, they are all moving in a great direction and that I just need to trust the process of it all.

I remember the first time I constructed a lesson where the students were in control. We were doing a jigsaw of notes, nothing huge, and the students took turns presenting their findings.  It was challenging to let them run the show, but doing so yielded the best results.  The students said thereafter that it was their favorite lesson.  If I hadn’t done that almost seven years ago, I know I would not have had the courage to do Genius Hour not once, but twice this past year.  My students were the designers and facilitators of their own learning for weeks on end and the results (well, a good 90% of them) were superb.  All I had to do was let go of the reins and watch the magic unfold.

So here I am in my grandparents’ living room watching Game 1 of the NBA Finals feeling less restless.  I guess I have to remember that there is much more to be gained from letting go of the reins of life in times like these than to try to plan every moment in an attempt to predict the future.

Trust the Process and Quit Feeling Restless
My personal mantra for years, which has been popping up a lot lately.

The 56-Day Vacay

Leaving on a Jet Plane!

With the end of each school year, teachers everywhere are faced with important and potentially life-changing decisions such as:

  • What will I do this summer?
  • Should I take on a summer job
  • Should I travel?
  • Should I attend a conference (or two, or three)?
  • Should I start planning for the next school year?
  • Is there really anything wrong with doing absolutely nothing for almost fifty days?

Okay, so I am exaggerating a little bit.  We do have the freedom in having such a break to pursue our personal interests or catch up on our Netflix guilty pleasures.

Now, I have just completed my seventh year of teaching.  In the past, I have gone to visit family, hung out with friends, enjoyed my favorite summer sports of golf and tennis, and attended grad school.  I realized about a year and a half ago that I wanted a little more.  I wanted more of a sense of adventure.  I wanted to spend my summer break traveling.

This year, I am making that plan a reality.

With friends in a variety of places around this great nation, I booked my airplane tickets, and am excited about the adventures to come.  Follow me as I traipse around the country on what I am affectionately calling the “Ms. Willipedia U.S. Tour 2015” through the hashtags #56DayVacay and #WillipediaTravels on Instagram and Twitter.  I have challenged myself to post at least one picture daily and to log my longer-form observations and anecdotes here.  With only two days left of post-planning (the days after the kids leave that we teachers still have to work), I have been packing my bag in preparation for my first trip destination: Miami!

Stay tuned!  This summer is shaping up to be one full of many fantastic adventures.

See you on “the ‘gram” or “the Twitters”!

-Ms. Willipedia

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