It’s Summer – Take Some Time Off

Everyone needs vacation. There is no substitute for forcing your mind and body away from work, even if just for a week. (For the record, I believe people need way more than that.) Some folks say they just can’t. I don’t get that.

Photo Credit: anna_t via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: anna_t via Compfight cc

There was a recent exchange on Twitter about the following blog post, first shared by David Didau and Julie Balen.  Conspicuous Work: Do We Compound the Work Issue Ourselves?  (by James Theobald) It’s worth a read.We live in a world where those perceived to work hard get lots of kudos, including educators. Sometimes I feel as if we’re all part of a giant, unspoken conspiracy to work harder and get less sleep because that’s just what we do. I don’t get that either.

Reactions to the article from Julie and others in my PLN centered around whether doing what you love is “work.” That’s an interesting question. It reminds me a brief Twitter conversation I had with Gerald Aungst about compliance vs. commitment. He helped me see that compliance is when others make us do it, even if we know it’s good for us, and commitment is when we make ourselves do it.

Every summer there seems to be some handwringing by educators and other members of the public about teacher vacations. Most educators don’t go into work in the summer. After the craziness of the last month of school, they head home and can do what they wish for the next 9-11 weeks. It’s one of the fantastic privileges of being an educator.  Many choose to take courses, work on prep for September, read professional books, noodle around on their blog – there are lots of options!  Some of that stuff is fun, and some you have to do so you feel energized and prepared for the first day of school. That’s commitment. I totally get that.

Still, I stand by my first sentence.  Whatever we decide to do with vacation, we need make sure that some of it is really vacation. Don’t think about your job for a week (or three). Can you do it?

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