I am starting my 35th year as an educator and, if you count my K-12 and college years, I have been back-to-school shopping for 52 years! And, I still get excited by shiny shoes, new clothes, crisp notebooks, colorful Sharpies, and my latest obsession, Pilot G2 pens.
I have always said that this career is a good match for because because I love the cycle of a school year. There are always endings and new beginnings. While I do enjoy back-to-school shopping in August (July is just too early for me!), some of the things on my back-to-school list can’t be found in any store.
My back-to-school shopping list includes: reflection, learning, and rejuvenating.
I spend time reflecting on things that went well and things that can be improved. I started in a new district and school July 1, 2016, and I offered to meet with staff members to reflect with them. Fifty staff members took me up on that offer and it has been valuable for me to reflect on my practices and beliefs in order to consider goals and priorities for the coming year.
I spend time learning as I prepare to go back-to-school. Some is formal learning like reading books and attending the National Association of Elementary Principals conference and Restorative Practices training. Other learning comes from my PLN through Twitter chats and in Voxer groups. Being connected with other educators is great learning for me.
One of the most important things on my back-to-school list is making time for rejuvenating. I say a happy, healthy principal makes for a happy, healthy school. Enjoying time off, connecting with friends and family members, being active, and exploring my passions are important for me. Summer is a good time to start healthy habits like exercising and practicing better nutrition that hopefully will continue into the school year.
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy going back-to-school shopping and finding a good bargain on colorful socks, shoes, shirts, and ties that attract students’ attention. And, I get just as excited as some students do for the start of school. I’m already trying to decide on my first day of school outfit!