One of the best things about life as a teacher (and especially as a coach) is that my world is seasonal. Some people progress from winter, to spring, to summer, to fall, and then back to winter. My year begins in the fall with cross-country and football season, progresses to basketball in the winter, and reaches fever pitch in spring with track season. But then comes summer, which is not only a time between academic classes, but also an "off season." It's also pre-season cross-country, a time when my XC-track athletes transition into easy running of base miles that will form the foundation of their fall workouts and racing.
The best thing about a new season is a fresh start. This summer represents a time like that. Lately, I haven't been making a plan, checking items off of my to-do list, or managing my goals. I've just been muddling through, hanging on for dear life. But as of this past week, "the hay's in the barn." That's a line stolen from Mark Wetmore, one of the best coaches in America, and it's what he tells his team when the work is all done and all that remains is to see the results. This next week I have to give exams, grade them, and do report cards. So I can't truly say that the work is all done. But the teaching is over. The exams are written, copied, and ready to hand out. The desk is cleared off, and the in-box is empty. The uniforms from this past season are stowed where they belong. The pressure is off.
That means a new set of challenges, but a different rhythym of life for the next 12 weeks. I've already begun my own summer mileage build-up, running with the team (just slower and shorter). I'm re-reading my favorite book on time management and goal-setting, Time Power, and tomorrow I'll spend some time updating my DayTimer. There will be projects--LOTS of projects--that will get much-deserved attention. I've got a list of books to read (hopefully some of them on a beach or by a pool). We'll spend family time together, from a vacation week in Florida to time doing yard work. And then this summer season will come to its natural end, and I'll be energized and ready to tackle yet another fall. It's going to be an exciting fall--my middle child will be in my class, our cross-country team should start the season ranked #1 in our league, and our football team begins a new era under a new coach, with lots of excitement. But all of that is off in the future. I'm excited about this season now. And that's as it should be.