Summer has very much arrived. Once the temperature climbed beyond 80 in Boston, a friend of mine e-mailed me and others asking if anyone was interested in driving to the beach on a Sunday morning.
My first thought was, “I have a five-page paper due Monday that I have not started. I haven’t written my lesson for Monday. I have a bag full of quizzes to grade.”
My second thought was, “It’s June. It’s in the 80s and sunny. I deserve the beach.”
And so, just after noon, I found myself at Crane Beach on the North Shore of Massachusetts. The water was cold even by New England standards, but fortunately a (sort of) random 12-year-old girl named Arielle began splashing me as I was wading in, so that sped up the acclimation process. I got through 40 pages of my book, threw a Frisbee, and went for a long walk with my friends.
It’s easy for teachers, and definitely us crazy perfectionists who seem over-represented within TFA, to think our work requires all of us. We could be grading. We could be calling parents. We could be revising lessons and writing new unit plans. We could be finding some edge that will help us get our kids to college. We could be single-handedly closing the achievement gap.
Yes, our work is critically important. But so are our lives beyond the classroom. Put simply, happy teachers are effective teachers, and you cannot be happy in a sustainable way without investing in the meaningful relationships and pursuits that keep you sane and grounded.