The Long Stretch Until Summer

Are you familiar with “Facebook envy?” You know, where you look at the awesome life that your friends are leading, compare it with your own, and either register to go skydiving or sink back into your couch to continue grading papers. Apparently, it’s a very real phenomenon that is causing a very real increase in prescriptions of anti-depressants. As educators, this time of year is tough. We’re just about tapped out of holidays, our personal leave bank is drying up, and to top it off, it’s testing season.
So you flip through Facebook, troll Twitter, and investigate Instagram, mindlessly liking and favoriting your peers’ escapades while all you can think about is,  “how long ’til summer? I’ll get to do cool things then, right?”

There is an insidious belief here that what makes our lives great must inherently be something other than our day-to-day. We’re a culture that embraces oddity. We crave life in the margins. After all, if everyone updated us with photos of their bowls of cereal, tweeted about their monotonous morning commutes, and shared their frustration with the lack of Italian dressing in the lunch line, we’d find ourselves alienated by even the closest of friends. Social media has made us believe that unless it’s out of the ordinary, it’s of no value.
But you’re a teacher. Your cool things happen every day. So cool that you need the summer just to take a break from the awesomeness that is your classroom. Your day-to-day is anything but ordinary. Each day you have the opportunity to reach students in a way that nobody else can. You will spend more time with them in a given day than some of their parents. Your “boring” life involves shaping the future. This time of year may be tough and you may be ready for summer, but never forget the gift you’ve been given: young, hungry minds that desperately need an adult to help them make sense of the world, providing context and content.
Don’t long for the day when they finally leave you, you might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them. And while it may not make for a great status update, I think we can all agree on what’s more important: 7 likes? 2 retweets? Or changed life?
Press on. Your kids are worth it.

Greg Garner

Greg Garner is a Digital Innovation Coach for the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation in Raleigh, NC. While much of his work is focused on leadership and capacity building, Greg cares deeply about kids' education and is relentless in doing everything he can to improve their learning opportunities. He is passionate about pedagogy, innovation, and technology. Connect with him on Twitter: @classroom_tech.

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