So...“How Was Your Summer? Do Anything Fun?”



“How was your summer? Did you do anything fun?”

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This must be it. The 50th time you’ve been asked. Wait, maybe it was only the 48th? You swore you wouldn’t let this happen. You swore that you would keep count of every time someone asked you. So that if, and when, it got to 50, you could appropriately express your feelings on the matter to said 50th individual -- feelings that run the gauntlet of here we go again, to genuine interest, to does this person even care, to shouldn’t we be focusing on getting ready for school. Seriously Bob? Do you know that you are the 50th person to ask me that, you would say.

Fortunately for this particular individual, Bob, you’re just not sure if they actually are No. 50, and now you’ve lost count entirely, and can’t bring yourself to start this conversation, knowing full well that you may be exposing them to your thoughts on the matter unnecessarily. Also, now no one can be No. 50 because there will always be the slightest chance that you are wrong, and that No. 50 has already passed by unscathed, wholly unaware of the danger they avoided. Blissfully ignorant, as it were.

So no, instead you show your affable smile, and begin exchanging pleasantries with Bob. Yet, at the very same moment, you get the feeling that Bob has no desire to ask you how your summer was.

Bob has been asking everyone how their summer was, but not because he is seriously, or genuinely interested, but more because he is not sure what else to ask. He even thought, seriously this time, about what he should ask people on the first day returning to school, and couldn’t think of anything transformative, or deep -- or philosophical, for that matter. So instead, he opted to ask the same innocuous question he always ask his students. Now, after asking this so many times, he is realizing that it was a HUGE mistake to not find something transformative, or deep, or philosophical to discuss.

Bob has had to endure, all day -- on the faces of his colleagues -- that split-second of flatness that sometimes crosses the countenance of someone’s face who is shocked, disinterested or generally lost by what has just left someone else’s mouth. Which is enough in and of itself, of course, because no one likes seeing someone’s face get all screwy like that for the breadth of a tenth of a second. But, it actually gets worse.

How you ask? Well, Bob now doesn’t know what to ask his students on the first day of class because of the pure fear recently associated with what was once a seemingly innocent question. Nope. It has now become the clearest representation of fear itself.

And, he’s also decided he will have nothing more to do with the word ‘harmless’ because of this realization. If such a seemingly harmless question can become so dangerous, then surely so can anything. And, that’s what Bob will be talking about with his students on the first day of class, how to be sure that you are very sure something is in fact, harmless.

Meanwhile, while Bob, across from you, is having this minor anxiety-riddled altercation with his inner psyche, you let one of those facial split-second things cross your countenance.

And oh boy, now realization dawns on Bob’s face. He’s now seen what he has just decided he never wants to see again -- which is why he won’t ask his students how their summer was -- and that is: you did not want to be asked, and that prior to being asked you were on the brink of total war.

So, you and Bob are sharing these barren pleasantries, which both of you have decided are surfacy, and devoid of real meatiness, and wondering where the desire for these desert conversations all stems from, when someone walks up and asks you both:

“How was your summer?”

Sound familiar?

Sure it’s a bit fictionalized, if not entirely, and really doesn’t strike the root of what we’re attempting to bring to the surface. However, it does capture that feeling you get when you have to explain over and over again how you injured yourself to everyone who sees you with a new cast on your arm.

Explaining the injury over and over again gets old, but you know what doesn’t get old? The signatures you get on your cast from all the people in your life -- from friends, to colleagues, to family -- who care about you and what you do. From all the people who have your back, and who would help you tackle some of the biggest problems you face in life, or at work, or at home.

Yeah, sometimes we get fed up with the seemingly unimportant facets of life, or the conversations that seem to be devoid of direction and meaning, but relationships are key. This school year, and every school year, is about the relationships you share with your colleagues, some of whom you will go to battle with, some of whom will help you impact the lives of students in tremendous and remarkable ways.

This is why we thought we’d help you start your school year off on the right foot with some light-heartedness, and also a bit of a reminder why educators, that means you, are superheroes.

The majority of staff members at mindSpark Learning are former educators, and we get what it’s like returning to school after the summer. It’s a mixture of excitement, a bit of angst and a lot of love from kids and parents. Of course, that love is often accompanied by its counterpart from some kids and parents too. However, that is the nature of the job.

So, while you prepare to start your school year, we figured we’d start it with you by sharing some of our staff members’ insights into what generally accompanied the beginning of the year for them.


Think You'll Find Everything in Your Classroom?

That’s Not Where I Left It...

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Ever thought, at the end of the school year, that you have left everything in its rightful place, and that it will be super easy to find everything when you get back into your classroom?

Then, you get in there and seriously can’t find ANYTHING? It’s like little pencil pixies came during the summer and moved everything around, or like that one poster you left behind just so happens to be a portal to Narnia, and somebody just so happened to jump through it and jack all your stuff.

Seriously, why?

And then, you DO find something that you were starting to be convinced grew legs, and it turns out it did because it was nowhere near where you originally left it. Then, you're left wondering  why you attempted to organize and prepare last year at all.

Time to Regulate the Bladder Again

Better Run, Better Be Quick, Or Things Might Get Slick

Okay, so this subject is a little touchy, but we have to at least acknowledge it's existence. Bladder control and education, and more specifically schools and classrooms…well…there just couldn’t be a better example of polar opposites.

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And maybe that’s not even the best way to describe them, because polar opposites generally describe equal opposites, and the word equal can sometimes mean fair, if you tack an “ity” on the end of it.

To be frank, there is nothing “fair” about having to use the facilities and having no control over when you are able to find time to do so.

No, surely not. Just be careful out there.

The things we do to ensure every last instructional second is maximized and we always put the students (and bell schedule) above our own needs.

Here Come the Kids

And the Best Part Is…

We figured we’d end on a high note because it’s probably why you got into education, it’s why a lot of us got into education after all. There is no more gratifying experience than impacting a student’s life in a transformational way, and you do that every day as an educator.

No matter what grade level you teach, students are constantly being impacted by the work you do. In fact, 88% of people say that an educator had a “significant, positive impact” on their life. And, on average you impact over 3,000 students during the course of your career, which basically means you are constantly a rockstar, and a superhero.

The best part is, your students know it (even though they they may never say it).

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Have a wonderful start to your school year, and just remember that we’ve always got your back at mindSpark Learning. We appreciate the work you do so much, and wanted to take the time to reflect with you on that work. We’re ready to start this school year with you!

We also recognize that this isn’t how everyone views the beginning of the school year, and that you all tackle the start in different ways. We’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions or comments on how you start your school year off on the right foot.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have any comments, suggestions or musings drop us a line in the comment section below.



P.S. Before you go, make sure to download our free e-book if you haven't already! 

5 Simple Ways To Free Up Your Time As An Educator So You Can Focus On The Things That Matter

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