Skip to main content

Vacation

Heading out for vacation today and ironically, I came across a post on Twitter about putting the "vacate" in your vacation.  I spoke about this with my colleagues, who encouraged me to leave the laptop closed and "step away from the inbox."  I wanted to fight back and assured them that, if they really needed me, I would be available by phone and that I could still check my email at night when everyone went to sleep.... They looked at me with crooked smiles on their faces and gave me a playful shove.  I know, I thought to myself - don't worry about it.  This is exactly what they were thinking.

At a previous school, I had teachers who begged me "not to learn anything new" while I was on vacation. They explained that, whenever I came back I always had fresh ideas for them to try out in their classrooms.  This translated, of course, into more work for them, more training that they would need, and definitely more time away from their own rest and relaxation...

While I am a firm believer in always learning new things, I have a new appreciation of vacation and what it means to treat your people well.  It has only taken me twelve years as a public school administrator to figure it out...

1.) Leaving your work at work while you're on vacation allows others to step up and take charge.  If you have been transparent and included your people every step of the way, they've got it under control.  Let them step up.  They can do it.  Trust them.

2.) Leaving your work behind while you are on vacation allows you to free your mind.  You need to do that.  I have learned that, miraculously, everything will still be there when you get back...  and running just the way you left it.  This doesn't mean that your employees don't need you, like I used to think in my early days of administration; it just means that people have learned from you.  Be proud of that, and be proud of them.

So I leave today for New York.  It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as my son and his baseball team play for the next few days in Cooperstown.  My wife and I will live the lives of baseball parents - cheering, rooting, soaking up the sun, and just being.  I will finish reading the novel I have been reading on and off for the last year, and I will let my mind wander.  I will enjoy the road trip for the sheer excitement and driving pleasure that is a road trip.  And I will leave work behind.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I am trying to tell myself that I deserve it.




Popular posts from this blog

Finally!

I am visited by two former Seniors on a recent Friday in early June.  They have been out of school for only a short time, having graduated three weeks prior.  We stay in touch because, well, that's one of the main reasons I am in this profession - to make a lasting difference in the lives of students.  But it's not only the students; it's their families as well.  I attend their graduation parties, keep up to date on their life happenings, I even recently attended the wedding and reception of one of my former students whom I had taught when he was in the 6th grade.  He's now 28.  
But this is what is required of this job.  We are in the business of making lasting impressions.  For anyone who doesn't believe this to be true, and that your only job as an educator is to impart knowledge and provide kids with information that they could just as easily find online, you are sorely mistaken.  I could easily insert here all of the research that proves, beyond the shadow of…

Parenting and the Principal

Very REAL Life, Part I

I need to tell you about my life as principal.
Particularly from the standpoint of this life as husband, dad and foster/adoptive parent.
And the daughter I have who is sitting in prison.

It is the winter of 2009.  I had just been accepted into the Doctoral program at National Louis University, and was heading to an informational meeting about the program when my wife called.  I was pulling into the high school where our cohort would be spending a lot of class hours together over the next few years, excited about this journey my family had agreed was the best time for me to embark upon, even more ecstatic to be the first in my family to achieve this prestigious degree.

We didn't realize the road I was about to travel was actually riddled with potholes, detours, wrong turns, and dead ends.

My wife can barely speak.
It seems like a lifetime, though it is actually 10 minutes on the phone with her,
trying to calm her down,
sitting in my Volvo with the engine turn…

Real Writers. Real Writing. Real Voices

Same 7th grade classroom.
Different group of students.   It is a warm afternoon and the fans are on.   I think back to my days as a 7th grader.   My teacher's name was Mrs. Zurn.   She passed away in the mid-90's and I remember her clearly for her loud voice;  Her booming voice and I remember her because she used to make us write.
A lot.

And it was always about the things that she wanted us to write about, never about the things that I CARED about like music and motorcycles and the ATV's that I spent my weekends on, flying through the cornfields and woods that I lived next door to.  Or my parent's divorce and my dad moving to California and how much I missed him.  We couldn't write about that stuff. 
Instead we wrote about St. Thomas and our favorite lunch, and if we could be anything when we grew up what would it be, and Mother Theresa and what our favorite color was and why, and writing a letter to Pope John Paul II.  I went to a Catholic school.  You can probab…