June 27, 2020 by Dr. Robbie Barber
Anybody else feel really weird right now? Like…is school over? (Yes, it is in Georgia.) Have we finished for the year? (The building is locked down, so yes, we have.) Why does it feel so…weird?
If, like many Americans, you’re used to being busy — often, too busy — the boredom of quarantine can also be a new, and depleting, experience.Miller, A.M. (2020). The psychology of why you go stir crazy, and how to cope. Business Insider.com. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/how-a-coronavirus-quarantine-affects-your-body-and-brain-2020-3#try-to-eat-healthy-to-help-fend-off-feeling-too-sluggish-9
After two and a half months of enforced working remotely, I do not have that general anticipation towards summer. Instead of finding ways to relax and planning my summer vacation (which I should be on right now!), I find myself seeking more engagement. Online conferences and workshops have taken over for June to the point where I do need to caution myself to not over doing it.
I’m proud of two big things so far this June. One was being part of an incredible team that transformed our two day Summer Institute into a part day online event. I thought it was amazing. People showed up and shared. Even our vendors got involved. I spent two months helping plan and execute along with working separately with two people to present one of the sessions. Was that recharging? Well, actually, it was in a way. I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed talking to friends and acquaintances. I loved connecting before and after sessions. I got to see people. We joked during the evening happy hour that everyone had to run their video so we can actually share our faces.
Getting things done can provide a sense of purpose and competency. It gives you something to work towards and something to look forward to each day.Cherry, K. (2020, March 18). How Does Quarantine Affect Your Mental Health? Retrieved June 21, 2020, from https://www.verywellmind.com/protect-your-mental-health-during-quarantine-4799766
I also spent 20+ hours creating a two-day workshop roughly titled “Creating a Media Center in Google Classroom.” Again, I saw friends from my district online that I normally see at the end of the year gathering in May. I got to engage and learn from them. (By the way, that’s why I teach – to learn from my students.) After all of the planning and practicing, I’m proud of the how the workshop went. It wasn’t perfect, but it was, in fact, a workshop where the students had to participate in various activities. I spend the hours because I want to provide the best teaching I can. A good part of that is providing exercises and assignments that encourage the student to explore and discover on their own or with their peers. In the end, I spent the hours because I just love this job.
It’s my summer vacation and I’m doing what I love [podcasting].Amy Hermon, School Librarians United, https://schoollibrariansunited.libsyn.com/
While I will read more books for pleasure this summer, I will also read for work (Ga Peach Award Nominees, Small Teaching Online, Learning Beyond the Classroom, etc.). But when I think about recharging, I think about how to connect with others. Like many introverts, I’m floored to discover how much I miss people during this crisis. I miss my students so much. I miss my teachers too. I miss these connection with others. I recommend everyone find ways to connect with others (call, email, video chat, write a letter). You might be surprised how much it will energize you.
And don’t forget to walk the dog.