Develop By Distance

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Jun
  • 16
  • 2007

Rolling socks and folding shirts, I’m thinking about what summer break means. On Monday, I’ll get onto a plane bound for Japan with 21 other students and 3 other adults. While I still have a week of work (take a group of kids on a trip for seven days, then tell me that it’s not work), I’m distancing myself from school as much as I can.

You should, too.

Teaching is tough and to do a good job requires a lot of your time. But if you’re only a teacher, you bring less to the big game when it comes ’round.

Summer break is time to build distance between you and your job. Simultaneously, this is your chance to develop as an educator because that distance is you practicing what you preach: learning new things, refining techniques, doing homework, valuing education. Your experiences outside of the classroom, and outside your content area, make you a more powerful educator. Now is the time to do those other things because from September to June sure isn’t.

If you go the entire summer without ever entering your classroom or looking through curriculum, then shame on you. Take some time to think about what happened last year. Detail the things you plan to keep and begin the process of revamping the things you need to change. June, July, and August are months we simply don’t get paid. We’re still working.

Get your head back in the game eventually, but you need some distance away from what you work so hard to perfect. And while you’re off pursuing some other facet of life that you enjoy, you’re still working hard to perfect your teaching. It’s like cross training: swim for a few weeks to develop muscles so that your running improves.

Take a few weeks off, at least. Heck, take a month off. Then you can return to Gotto, Burke, and other such things.

P.S. I find Friday Night Lights to be poorly acted and written, but thanks for the inspiration, Dan. I like your adaptation.


1. Dan Meyer says:

[6/17/2007 - 12:23 pm]

You, sir, are insane.

P.S. Welcome.

2. Todd says:

[6/17/2007 - 12:35 pm]

Insane for not liking that show? I might say the same to you, my friend. But the point of this post isn’t insane, is it?

3. Dan Meyer says:

[6/17/2007 - 2:01 pm]

Yeah, the first option there. Insane. At least you didn’t toss “shot” up there with “acted” and “written.” Instant unsubscription.

4. Shaun Carey says:

[6/28/2007 - 8:19 am]

This is a great post! I teach and I found it highly motivating and true! The key, “practicing what you preach”. How did you get funding for such a trip?

5. Todd says:

[6/30/2007 - 11:33 am]

Thanks, Shaun. Funding for the Japan trip comes from the students and their parents: they pay for it out of pocket. We end up covering a lot of incidental expenses during the trip out of that money, too (subway costs, temple entrance fees, etc.). The chaperons pay, too, though a bit less. There is no funding but from participants’ wallets.

And Dan, do you like football? I wonder if that’s why you like Friday Night Lights so much. Maybe it’s because I don’t care about football at all that I don’t care for the show. Meanwhile, I like comic books a lot and really enjoy Heroes. I can’t stand to lose any subscribers, but how is that show shot any better than Homicide was 15 years ago? Or NYPD Blue around the same era?

6. dy/dan » Blog Archive » Summer Shenanigans says:

[12/23/2008 - 12:19 pm]

[…] taking Europe. Greg’s taking Africa. Todd’s turning Japanese. Dana’s got a book club running. Scott’s got his resolutions. Robert’s got too […]