Downtime – a careful balance
Every summer I have grand plans of all the things that I want to do and there are several lists. My family ultimately wins (as they should!) and so there is a holiday to organise with the kids so that we all feel that we have destressed from the juggernaut that school is for all 5 of us. Then there is the personal downtime and goals – training, racing, gear to buy and of course people to see. And then the professional goals. This summer I had grand visions of re-doing my blog, website, updating apps and writing some articles as well as a Physed online course and other grand projects that just haven’t been done. I had great twitter #physed people to chat with and possible catch up in person with some people in Australia while home.
But as the days turned to weeks, I had to readjust these goals. The truth is that after a really hectic year at school, I needed a chance to not be engaged with my professional life. I needed to take stock of me as a non-teacher and take time out and be off-line. Now I still check my email everyday and I still try and read a little of what is happening in various PE conferences around the World, but I have actually unplugged for a week and it has been really good for my soul. As reliant as we are on technology, we as teachers need to make sure that we are taking time to unplug and to connect offline with our friends, family and with our environment. It is so important to engage with the now and the moment and not to be taking photos of it and disrupting the flow around us. A friend told me that as she played with her kids in the playground, three different grandparents came and told her that they were so happy to see a parent playing with the children, not sitting by on a phone. I am very guilty of being on the phone/email/twitter when I am tired, but I deliberately took my old phone on holiday and it doesn’t easily do all those data related functions, so now I am playing and I am really enjoying being with my children.
I know that summer has different meanings for us and our goals are different – but for me the downtime has been a welcome break, and I know that I will head back to work with energy and a desire to catch up on the conferences, the development, the conversations and ideas knowing that my soul is ready for another busy year.