The Quiet Months

"What do you do all summer?"

This is a common question administrators receive from friends, family and even colleagues.  A fair question, for after all summer is synonymous with relaxation and time away.  However, a quick glimpse behind the scenes of administrative summer life may surprise a few people.

I would say that the intensity and pace of the work that we do may be different yet the focus and purpose of our tasks are as essential as they are during the school year.  Yes, the hours may be more flexible and of course it is much quieter without 900+ students around, but the summer months are when we, the administrative team at SMS, do much of our program/curriculum revision and development, evaluating of current goals and setting of new goals, data collection, philosophy building and of course building individual schedules that meet the diverse needs of our students.

During the school year, each day brings a new situation that requires an immediate, or timely, response.  That is the life of an educator; teaching, guiding, and hopefully shaping while never knowing what each day will bring.  Of course, the unpredictable nature of the school day is, well..predictable.  Although we do a considerable amount of work to accomplish many of the aforementioned tasks during the school year, it is critical that we also have a block of uninterrupted time to intensely examine where we are and where we need to be.

This brings us back to the summer.  Although
I miss the sound of the students in the hallways, the buzz that is generated by a full cafeteria, and the daily interactions with students and staff, the summer allows me to step away from the challenges and successes of a typical school day and focus on the vision of SMS.

As a leader of teachers and students I firmly believe that I need to model a passion for learning.  I believe that it is essential for all of us to reflect on our practice and grow as learners.  These quiet months allow for extra time to read various educational articles, blogs, journals, and books.  Recently, I have become a strong advocate of using Twitter to nourish my professional growth.  Twitter allows me to connect with teachers, administrators, theorists, and leaders from many fields and from all over the world.  It really is a tremendous medium for anyone interested in learning more about...well, anything.

Of course the summer does provide me with a few more hours in my day to spend with my family, and that is a gift that is truly invaluable.  But, to the next person who asks me what I do all summer- I'll suggest they pull up a chair as we may be awhile.