Summer Mindset: Unwind to Rewind

I’ve been a teacher for forty-two years.  I’ve worked in five different schools.  I’ve worked with children from four to eighteen years old.  An no matter what circumstances, I have always yearned for summer.  I love teaching.  It is my passion.  I am lucky to have taught for forty-two years.  I have purpose and satisfaction. But summer is part of the plan.  Summer is the natural consequence of teaching and learning.  Summer is the built-in reflection spot – a time to regroup and regain perspective, imagination, and energy.

After this spring of remote learning, I’ve found that I need summer even more.  I need that time to unwind to rewind.  Usually my husband and I plan many summer trips so I can achieve this.  Last year, we went to Bar Harbor, Maine for fourteen days.  It wasn’t until day ten that I felt I had successfully divested myself of “school mindset.”  School mindset is crammed with planning, doing, re-planning.  It runs counter to writer’s mind or imagination mindset. I often have allowed school mindset take over and run things.  But I’ve learned that when I find my mind constantly running, checking emails, waiting for the next meeting, making lists of the next seven projects – it is way past time for an unwind-rewind.  Summer must be on the near horizon, and I find myself running to meet it.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been driving out to meet it.  I wander the country roads of western New Jersey (Yes, there are country roads in New Jersey). I drive out past the meadows, horse farms, sheep pastures, and farm stands with rolling hills on either side.  My shoulders drop; I start to breathe; I smile to myself.  I am content: summer has finally come.

Since long summer trips will be impossible to do this summer, I find myself thinking of the beach.  The Jersey girl in me thinks about the endless summer days I spent as a child and teenager down the shore.  I long to return.  This spring, I started to organize my countless photographs.  I came upon some photos I had taken a few years ago at Asbury Park.  I love the gritty beauty of that place. Looking back has taught me to take my time, explore places closer to home, write, draw, and wonder.  Open my mind and welcome summer.

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9 thoughts on “Summer Mindset: Unwind to Rewind

  1. I can relate to the yearning of summer, to the natural need to rest after the school year, the difficulty of switching off the school mindset. I hope your summer will give you positive surprises and moments of awe and plenty of time to just be in the now.

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  2. You are so right about teacher mindset vs. summer mindset. I’m finally sinking into the reality of summer too, and it is wonderful. Your pictures are gorgeous. Enjoy the summer!

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  3. My family spent years at my in-laws’ beach bungalow near Point Pleasant in New Jersey. Your post brought me back there and the “gritty beauty” of the boardwalk. I wish you a wonderful and restful summer.

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  4. I was nodding in agreement while reading your post. We do live with school mindset for so long and summer does allow us that time to reflect. Your pictures are delightful. It makes me think of beauty around us.

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  5. I am enamored with the images you posted! So colorful! I see why they gave you pause. Your post is a reminder of the power of images to trigger memory. What a lovely way to “travel!”

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  6. The vivid colors of your photos drew me in, and I found myself studying their composition. They echo – perhaps scream – SUMMER! Summer is such an important time for all of us as we make our ways outdoors and interact with people we typically don’t see throughout the year. With longer days, we find time to relax a little more.

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  7. One more thought… I read your blog shortly after having a conversation with a few colleagues about summer. As educators, we use the few months to reflect, to plan, to dream. Because we moved online, it seems, at least at our institution, that administration has forgotten we are on summer vacation – calling important meetings. So many need to step away from obligations so they can be the best educators they can be when they step back into the classroom in the fall.

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  8. Your images! I want to print them and look at them again and again to figure out why they make me feel summer.

    I’ve always taken summer seriously — downtime and unplugging and saying YES! to whatever random thing the kids and I want to do. Over the years, as my job evolved, I’ve found work creeping in to summer. This year many professional duties were cleared. However, I still have Choice Literacy to attend to, and I’m finding myself having a difficult time not knowing how to work and still take summer seriously.

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