As another school year draws to a close I reflect on my influence and impact as an instructional coach. I reflect on my work each year and this year’s reflection includes being courageous with having conversations about mindsets. The end of the school year involves wrapping up units and projects, preparing students for their next school year, completing progress reports and report cards, cleaning the classroom and sending things home with students, and preparing for summer break. Recently I had several conversations with teachers about the mindset we take on toward the end of the school year. It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase, “There’s x days of school left until summer” coming from students and teachers. The anticipated start to summer definitely brings with it excitement, relaxation, adventures, sunshine, and even a sense of freedom with what the day brings - for both students and teachers. Of course there are countless media sources that portray this feeling. Videos of commercials, songs like “School’s Out for Summer.” Of course summer vacation is a well deserved break from the incredibly intense work educators experience for 180+ days of the school year. Summer is a chance to reflect, recover, and recharge from the past school year and in preparation for the next school year. I definitely value and am grateful for summer break. However, I challenge the focus of the above statement. In conversations I’ve had with colleagues and teachers I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of coaching and supporting, I encourage the shift of focus in that statement from summer break to the incredible value of our influence and impact. Instead of “There’s x days of school left until summer” I suggest “There’s x days of school left to make a lasting impact.”
180 days of influence and impact. What an incredible gift we have as educators to make a lasting impact in the minds, hearts, and souls of young learners and their parents. So, let’s not count down in positive anticipation for the beginning of summer break but instead count down in positive urgency of the work we do daily with children. Everyday we have with children is a gift. Let’s make the most of that gift.