While spring is traditionally thought of as a time of renewal, summer plays that role in the life of a teacher. It’s a chance to step back from the routine of the school year to catch your breath, to spend time with family and friends, to renew and ready yourself for the year ahead. Sometimes that renewal comes from time alone or with old friends. It may come from travel to new places or return visits to special places or simply time at home. But the result is hopefully the same – that we come back together at the end of the summer ready to be in community once again.
This summer I found renewal – both personal and professional – at the Green Mountain Teachers Camp in Dummerston, VT. Attending camp was a big step outside of my comfort zone – I knew no one there and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was reminded of what my students might feel like on their first day at SYC: Where do I put my stuff? What if it all gets wet in the rain? Who will I sit with at dinner? Will I find my place? Will I belong?
Fortunately, the other teachers at the camp were very welcoming and easy to talk with. I met teachers of all stripes – preschool, elementary and even college – from all over the US including Alaska. We talked about the role of mindfulness for both teachers and children, and ways to get more play into the classroom. We discussed the role of technology in our personal and professional lives and used the framework of photography to examine the lenses through which we all view the world, including the lives of our students. We sang every day, laughed and talked at meals, shared stories of our schools, hiked to a waterfall and swam in a river, and created beauty. It wasn’t always easy – there were moments when I had to take a deep breath and make myself approach someone I hadn’t talked to yet, times when I forced myself to say yes when I could have easily said no – but it was so worth the effort and I grew both as a person and as a teacher, renewed with appreciation for the amazing community of SYC and for the year ahead.
As we welcome the teachers and families back to SYC, we hope that your summer has left you with a sense of renewal and an eagerness to rejoin the community. It’s not always easy to start things up again and sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zones to welcome others and allow change to happen. But it’s so worth it when we do!
…Susan Roscigno, SYC Co-Director