Greetings from Nowhere!

“Don’t dream it. Be it.” – The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Happy summer! And greetings from an undisclosed location somewhere sunny, warm, and far, far away from my usual stomping grounds. I once heard a veteran teacher say that the three reasons you get into education are June, July, and August. And while I don’t know that I totally agree with that sentiment, in jest there is truth: teachers work really hard during the school year, and we have absolutely earned some quality R&R away from the daily grind.

Summer vacation is a great time to fill up your proverbial tanks, catch your breath, and make whatever plans you need to in order to hit the ground running when school resumes in just a few short weeks. Whether you’re traveling, lesson planning, attending conferences, reading books for leisure or brainstorming wild ideas for your new group of students – “there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s,” as the old saying goes. As the kids are saying these days: “you do you.” Or in the words of social media thought leader and best-selling author Seth Godin:

Busy is not the point

There’s a common safe place: Being busy.

We’re supposed to give you a pass because you were full on, all day. Frantically moving from one thing to the other, never pausing to catch your breath, and now you’re exhausted.

No points for busy.

Points for successful prioritization. Points for efficiency and productivity. Points for doing work that matters.

No points for busy

This week, I’m taking a much needed social media hiatus (‘sup, pre-scheduled blog posts?), and enjoying the sun, surf, and sights of a much-needed break from the day to day grind. As Godin suggests, I think that taking some time away from the every day whirlwind of teaching, planning, training, presenting, and running around in a million directions can be incredibly powerful to re-center yourself in your professional practice. By prioritizing what’s important, you return to the next school year with a renewed sense of purpose, passion, and enthusiasm for the year to come. And who knows? Why are you sneak off on some self imposed exile or a writer’s retreat — you might just find yourself stumbling onto the next big idea. Don’t laugh: George Lucas ran off to Hawaii the weekend that the original Star Wars was released for fear of reading any negative critical reviews. And while he was away on his sabbatical? He just so happened to connect with Steven Spielberg and dream up what would become the basis of Indiana Jones.

“It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.”

– Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr.

PS: if you’re still reading – here’s a fun little Easter Egg for fans of the EDrenaline Rush book. Recognize this picture or the photo at the top of this post?

The photo on the bottom made the final cut of the book. But the one on the top was pulled before we went to print (stupid Tough Mudder licensing fees!). What you’re looking at in these photos is actually the very first draft of the book that would go on to become EDrenaline Rush — taken while on the beach during my summer vacation in July of 2018. A year ago, I spent a week writing in Cancun, Mexico, and finished work on the first draft of this pipe dream of a project. As a sort of hippie New Age, positive self talk bid for the universe’s blessing, I actually sent a .pdf copy of the original manuscript to my Kindle on the last day of our vacation to imagine what it might feel like to hold a book that I’d written in my very own hands and pretend that I was actually a real, live author.

Twelve months later?

Back to the beach with my Kindle I go. You never know where inspiration will strike, right?

Author: John

John Meehan (@MeehanEDU) is an English teacher and school instructional coach at Bishop O’Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. He began his teaching career in 2010 as a career switcher through The New Teacher Project, after spending five years working in social media and event marketing. He is a 2017 ASCD Emerging Leader, and an alumnus of the 2016-2018 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council. In 2016, he was named one of Arlington, Virginia’s “40 Under 40” by the Leadership Center for Excellence. He is a past presenter and regular attendee at educational conferences throughout the United States, including the annual conference for National Catholic Education Association, ASCD Empower19, and the Play Like a Champion Today: Character Education Through Sports summer conference at the University of Notre Dame. He’s an avid runner who’s completed more than three dozen marathons, half marathons, long-distance road relays, mud runs, and obstacle course races. John lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his wife, Laura, a high school music teacher and fellow graduate of The Catholic University of America, and a giant-sized Maine Coon cat named Jack.

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