Friday, July 9, 2010

Take Care Until September

Dear Readers,

After completing my second year in the classroom with some level of success I've decided to take, at least in part, my own advice from my most recent post- Get Your Head Out of It. At the behest of many of the people close to me and for my own good I will be taking the summer off from blog writing in order to best prepare for the coming school year and in order to fulfill a number of other commitments between now and September. I've also been told by several of the people closest to me that I need to take at least a small break over the summer to prevent burnout next school year. As I've not been through as many years in the classroom as they have and as I tend to heap as much as possible onto my plate (oftentimes too much), I'm going to listen to them.

On the Front Line with Wine was a pleasure to write, but was intended to be written through the lens of a second-year teacher. As I no longer am a second-year teacher I feel it would not be consistent with the spirit of the blog if I were to keep writing it. The time off this summer will help me in transitioning into my third year, which brings with it many added responsibilities in and out of the classroom. Taking some time off will also give me the opportunity to develop a new theme and focus for the writing I'd like to do next year and in the years to come. My new blog will be up an running by the time school begins in the fall- just after Labor Day. I truly hope that if you follow this blog or even tune in occasionally that you'll visit the new site once it's operational.

I'd like to sincerely thank everyone whose supported this effort over the past ten months. In that time this blog has seen thousands of hits and a lot of great feedback. If you could, leave some feedback on this post as to what you liked about this blog and/or what you'd like to see on the one that will be created for September. When the site is up and running I'll post to On the Front Line with Wine to let anyone who happens by know what the new link is.

For the First Years (Now Second Years):
Rest and recuperate this summer. Go into next year with a new battle strategy and playbook, and buckle down from the first minute. It will be better in the second year- and astoundingly so.

Take Care,

Nick James

Today's Wine: Louis Perdrier Brut Excellence. This was under ten dollars, uncomplicated and delicious. How could I have chosen anything but champagne for this post? Cheers!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Get Your Head Out of It

Around this time of year a lot of people tend to think that teachers have the sweetest job around. Three months off? Who wouldn't want that job?! Sadly for them, it's not that simple. First of all, it's not three months, but two months. Secondly, while some teachers do use most of the time for leisure, most are working at least part time during the summer, either taking on a part-time job, working on their own professional development as a teacher, debriefing the year and planning for the following year or a combination of all these things.

As the past week has been the first week of the summer, most teachers have hardly detached themselves from the classroom yet. This is probably especially true for the first-year teachers. Last year during the first two weeks of summer I simply had to recover. By the last day of school it's as if a freight train knocked you down, a stampede of bison ran right over you and then some jerk burned you on your forehead with a cigarette. You have little clue as to what happened and your head is spinning so hard that you're nauseous. Personally, I was in a horrible state of disrepair having not exercised in months, lacking sleep and having pushed myself to the breaking point time and again throughout the year. It was the first time in my life where I agreed that a long break was the best thing I could do in order to improve myself and support my career.

If you're a first year, you should take the next couple weeks off entirely. Go on vacation with what little money you may have saved or simply sleep in every day. Do what you need to in order to get out of the school mindset. This is important for a variety of reasons, but a short list is: it will help prevent burnout; you probably need to recover some of your previous health; and, in order to improve as much as possible next year you need to approach it with a clear head, willing to change things in your classroom. The latter is especially important if you intend to teach next year and thereafter.

After you've had that time off, we can talk about what needs to be done this summer (from a post-second year's perspective) in order to make next year a good one.

Today's Wine: 2008 Marotti Campi Luzano. This is an Italian white made from Verdicchio grapes. It's floral up front, smooth and citric on the palate. It was another of the case assembled by the New York Wine Club.