It is August. The summer is winding down and I am here in Arizona on a family vacation. We have been traveling the state - visiting my brother-in-law in Tucson, driving up to Mt. Lemmon, hiking around the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Today we spent an exhausting, exhilarating day in the Grand Canyon. I love spending time with my family and am truly loving this vacation. Tomorrow we head to Sedona. We are considering renting ATVs to ride around the mountains.
And now I am settled down for the night. My husband and daughter are watching television. I was watching with them for a while but my mind was churning. You see, as much as I love this vacation, love summer, love hanging out with my family, I can't seem to stop thinking about school. So here I am editing wikis, planning projects, emailing collaborators. And I am wondering what is wrong with me. Why can't I just relax and do nothing?
In fact, my husband, who is also a teacher, and I spent our car ride through the Petrified Forest discussing how the area is a perfect example of weather erosion. "How," we discussed,"could we demonstrate this for our students in the classroom?" We actually spent about an hour brainstorming objects we could use to show the formation of a mountain due to an earthquake. Pancakes? Tortillas? Sand? Mud? Clay? Paper and water? We promised ourselves that as soon as we got home we would try out a few ideas. In the meantime, I pulled out my ITouch and recorded all our ideas for later listening.
I am excited about the science lessons racing through my brain. I am enriched by my trip through the desert. I am energized by this vacation. And, maybe, just maybe, that is what vacations are all about for teachers. Not necessarily a time to relax and do nothing. But a time to reenergize. And, for me, a trip to the desert is the perfect solution to end-of-year burn out.