Monday, March 28, 2011

Best Advice from a College Professor

I got some advice from a college professor my freshman year that I really took to heart. When we were getting ready to head out for a break (like Thanksgiving, or Spring Break), he would tell us to make our vacations a true vacation. He would tell us to write all the papers and finish all the projects before we went home, and then leave all the school work behind and truly enjoy the time with our families and friends. You don't have to feel guilty because you should be doing something else, and you don't find yourself stressed out at the end of the break over what you didn't get done.

I realize this is not earth-shattering advice, but the 18-year-old version of myself thought it was genius. I have tried to carry that advice into my professional career. I will not take work home for vacations. Occasionally, I try to do the same for weekends. I make lists, I cross things off, and I use my time on the job as efficiently as possible. I have turned into a true anti-procrastinator.

Last friday, I left my classroom for Spring Break with all the grading complete, plans laid out for the following week, and a clean desk. I walked floated out of the building and I did not think of school for the entire week. So refreshing!

I love my job, and I want to be good at it. It actually takes effort to NOT sit around mentally evaluating my grading system or how I can do a better job teaching properties for logarithms or what I should do for an end of the year project in Calculus. But I am convinced these mental breaks make me a better teacher. So I give myself permission.

Thank you, Mr. College Professor.  I am not sure I remember all the identifying characteristics of the various architectural styles, but you taught me how to relax.

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