I just started my new job yesterday.
It involves hauling children all over a pool, blowing bubbles with them in the water and catching them off the diving board.
Did I mention that this new job – swim instructor – is my annual summer part-time job?
It’s taxing on my body, but I love it. Being around the pool. Teaching new skills. I even get to have my own kids as participants.
I’ve been teaching swim lessons and coaching swim teams for about seven years and I look forward to it every year. It hearkens back to the old high school glory days when I was a swimmer and diver.
I have a confession to make, though.
I’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.
Weeks. That goes back before the school year ended.
So that means (brace yourself) …
I was looking forward to the end of the school year.
I admit it. Guilty as charged.
And looking forward to the year’s end doesn’t make me a bad teacher.
Don’t get me wrong. I love being a teacher. I love to interact with my students and teach them skills they can use for the rest of their lives.
But it’s a change of pace. And change can be invigorating.
Thinking about my excitement for summer swim lessons has called two things to mind:
1. Teaching in a different venue has reminded me of things I love about teaching.
In two days, I have:
- helped kids overcome fears and jump off a diving board
- seen them float on their backs when they couldn’t have done it five minutes earlier
- connected swimming techniques to Superman, Thomas the Tank Engine and penguins
- giggled with little ones about silly jokes and had deep conversations about their Lightning McQueen swim suits
As a high school Spanish teacher, these aren’t my day-to-day reality. But they’ve been a blast.
2. If my change of pace has given me new life, think of how change can excite and empower my students.
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut, give up and just stay there.
[RELATED: Motivating our students]
But there’s something to throwing out that lesson plan book you’ve used for years to invent something new. (Ditching the textbook, if you will.)
It creates a spark of interest for students AND for the teacher.
And the proverbial spark can start a wildfire of enthusiasm and engagement.
For me, my summer change has already made me a better teacher for next school year. I’ve been refreshed by seeing teaching and learning through a new point of view.
When the end of the school year comes, they say, “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
I agree: make the days count.
But if you’re still passionate about teaching, don’t feel guilty if you have a good reason to count the days a little, too.