So, What Did You Learn This Summer? – SBÉ Week 9

Summer is almost over.

It’s the last week of summer vacation here. Our boys are desperately trying to squeeze every ounce of summer out of each day – morning swimming – afternoon in the park – evening fires well into to the night. Visiting with cousins, riding bikes, playing hoops and sneaking carrots from the garden.

It’s almost over.

Yesterday, as my 8-year-old and I were putting the final touches on the robot we have been building this summer, we did some “Best of Summer ’17” moments – the week of swimming lessons in Porcupine Plain,

the week of swimming lessons in Porcupine Plain,

the days at Gma’s house where he and his brother rode the merry-go-round,

the trip to Banff, the beach days paddle boarding were all mentioned.

But the best moments, according to him, were the evenings in the backyard eating ice cream and watching the fire.

When I asked why they were the best, he said: “I don’t know, just because”.

Sometimes words are hard to find for those moments. They are simple things – time spent watching the flames, eating ice cream (and Smores) and just being with family. But, there’s so much going on.

But, there’s so much going on.

A Summer of Learning

It has been a busy summer with plenty of “remember that” moments. But there has also been time for learning. There are the research and writing for my dissertation proposal. Learning to paddle board – it’s a bit tricky especially when you have an 8-year-old on the board with you. Building a robot. Gardening. Repairing and fixing bikes, tents, cars, and sprinklers.

However, what stretched me the most was learning to be a caregiver to my aging parents. Learning to listen more intently to what they were saying. Realizing I needed to learn to be more patient – less focused on “fixing the problem” and more on helping them make adjustments. It was a difficult learning experience with many moments of anxiety, where regret was almost overwhelming at times and there were tears from all of us. Learning to be a caregiver to my parents has not been easy. As a parent of eight children and a teacher for 23 years, taking care of others has been part of what I do. But this was different. So different and so difficult at times I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it.

So different and so difficult at times I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it.

I’m still not sure, actually.

But I’ve learned a great deal about my parents such as I can see where I get my stubborn side from, times two.  I know that I will have to continue to learn as this journey continues. It won’t be easy – but it’s essential.

I know that I will have to continue to learn as this journey continues.

It won’t be easy – but it’s essential.

It’s learning to reach out to others who are/have been doing the same thing. Asking questions. Being comfortable with not knowing answers. Being okay with needing help. Being vulnerable. Being scared.

What did You Learn this Summer?

Learning happens in so many ways. So often, when educators gather to talk about what they learned over the summer, there is a shopping list of books and conferences, PD sessions and classes. When someone doesn’t do any of these, they’re sometimes made to feel “lesser”, like they aren’t quite as good as a professional. Often, as I’ve read in a few different edtwitter chats this summer, people wonder how to get those teachers to buy into life-long learning. To care more about being a teacher. To be as passionate as we think they should be about teaching. This summer I really didn’t do a whole lot of “professional learning” but I learned a lot. I know it will make me a better son, father, husband, brother, friend and, most likely, a better educator.

This summer I really didn’t do a whole lot of “professional learning” but I learned a lot. I know it will make me a better son, father, husband, brother, friend, most likely, a better educator and, I hope, a better person.

So, what did you learn this summer?