I know I am fortunate to have time off in the summer and I know that I am even more fortunate to be able to travel and learn during that time. This month I had the opportunity to take two different vacations in two very different environments.
Earlier in July, I traveled to the Washington, DC, area to attend the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ conference. And, I spent last week at a cabin on an island in a lake in northern Minnesota near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. The cabin was beautiful, but rustic; no electricity, no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no WiFi.
At the NAESP conference in National Harbor, Maryland, I was plugged in, making connections with other educators, using two devices, keeping up to date, sharing on social media, Tweeting, posting on Facebook and Instagram, attending sessions, reflecting, reading, and filling myself with thoughts, ideas, and plans for the coming school year.
In northern Minnesota, I slept longer than I do at home, read a mystery novel written by a retired teacher colleague, took naps, kayaked, swam, listened to the loons, sat by the fireplace, connected with friends, cooked, grilled, ate well, star gazed, relaxed, reflected, and rejuvenated myself.
(I took one of these photos at sunset and the other at sunrise from different sides of the island.)
I need both types of vacation experiences to be the best principal I can be. One fills my mind and the other fills my soul. Educators need time to listen and learn, engage with colleagues, and think and plan for the school year, but they also need time to connect with family and friends and rejuvenate themselves for the new school year. I have figured out what I need and am fortunate to be able to give that to myself. Thank you to my PLN friend and fellow principal, Lindsy Stumpenhorst, for taking my photo and putting in words that express that sentiment.
Be sure you find time and space to become intellectually stimulated and make it to your peaceful place to become emotionally recharged. And, let me know if you need a guide to some amazing places in northern Minnesota.