To CHARGE or RECHARGE ?
"When we get home at night, we plug in our phones. But we don't think of ourselves as phones that need to be charged. You need to be sure you're getting back up to 100%." -Bobby Berk, designer
As I was flying across the Atlantic to visit my family and friends in the USA (for the first time after Covid-19 hit), I turned on the screen in front of me and went straight for the films! For years, this has been my go-to first step in the tried-and-true summer sequence of my “recharging” plan. Ten hours of non-stop movie watching, napping, and plane food! By the time I reach my final destination, my teacher batteries are dead. I’m ready for summer and ready to recharge with summer activities!
However, this time around, I intentionally decided to choose a teaching-related film to keep my teaching batteries on low and my educational wits about me.
I watched Words and Pictures (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2380331/ ) and found myself highly entertained and inspired to emulate some of the classroom approaches in my own classroom during the coming school year!
(I then took a long nap and watched Pacific Rim!)
Whenever there is a break from our normal work schedule, we talk about needing to take time to recharge our batteries.
Especially this summer! I have been seeing so many social media posts, articles, and comments from teachers about really, REALLY needing to recharge during this summer vacation.
And rightfully so! After nearly two years of corona chaos, our teacher batteries are drained! And for some of us, they are dead!
But what do we actually mean when we talk about recharging our teacher batteries?
To charge or recharge – that is the question!
If we look at the concept of charging and recharging from an electronics point of view, there seems to be seven different situations:
1. The forever charge: Charging whenever possible, regardless of the power level. There is always more than enough power to keep everything running. However, this requires being tied to a charger whenever there is a break.
2. The planned charge: Plugging in when there is about 10-20% power left. You make sure to charge your phone/computer/device before any critical power loss might happen.
3. The panic-charge: Frantically searching for a power supply when there is only 1-2% power. This often happens in the middle of doing something important or having an important conversation, AND/OR when you not near your charger.
4. The intentional recharge: Intentionally letting your device run out of power before charging. (FYI - this is not recommended for electronic devices, as it can reduce the life-span of the battery.)
5. The unintentional recharge: Unintentionally losing all power and having to recharge. This occurs when you think you’ve charged your device, but something unforeseen happens, like the plug wasn’t properly installed or the power supply wasn’t connected.
6. The crash-induced recharge: Losing all power abruptly and unexpectedly! Sudden device shut-downs can be caused by external or internal causes, for example extreme temperatures, power outages, blue screen, or other inexplicable reasons.
7. The need-a-new-device-or-battery recharge attempt: Finally accepting the fact that you need a new battery or a new device.
So, really, there is a huge difference between “charging” and “recharging”, especially regarding electronics.
Needing to recharge means that your batteries have lost all power and need to start-up again from zero. This does not really affect the power of the charge; you will still go from 0%-100%.
HOWEVER, this kind of recharge, for whatever reason, can greatly affect the immediate effectiveness of your device! Your phone needs to have SIM card verification and other start-up access codes, updates of apps, and other things. Your computer may need to reboot and the somewhat endless cycle of updates can take up several hours to be completed!
So, recharging from 0% is neither desirable nor recommendable! This is true for electronic devices AND for teachers!
But, in all fairness, “recharge” also means to revive, restore, revitalize, refresh! And as a teacher you are in need of revitalizing and restoring your depleted energy following the corona chaos of the past year or more.
So, what should you do???
Keep Your Teacher Batteries on Low
Have you ever been so unplugged during your break that you
· can’t remember your password to access your work?
· forget which class, level, or even grade that you are going to teach?
· can’t recall what lesson plans you know you created before the vacation?
· don’t know where you last put your keys, planner, or your pencil case?
· feel flummoxed, out of sync, and unprepared to get back?
Deciding to unplug completely and let your teacher batteries die during the summer, means that it will be much harder to start back up in after the vacation! If you power off, you will have to reboot, restart, and reset more than you really have time or energy for!
As a teacher, you don’t want to reach a point that you deplete your power requiring a rebooting recharge! You NEED to maintain some power to make sure that you can start up again after the break with ease and flow! You need to keep your teacher power level at a minimum of about 10%, so you don’t crash and burn before you even get started!
Maintaining a low charge will make your back-to-school reentry MUCH smoother, more directed, and ensure that you have the energy needed to get back to doing what you do best!!
POWER DOWN, but don’t power off!!!
Go ahead and recharge your spirit, your body, and your mood by engaging in fun, stimulating, relaxing, and energizing summer activies!
BUT - head into the final weeks of summer with your teacher batteries on low!!
And how can you do that????
In addition to my watching Words and Pictures on my transatlantic flight, here are a few more ideas that I have planned for this summer to keep my teacher batteries charged:
· Stay engaged in some FaceBook groups of teachers and coaches.
· Read a book on student engagement ideas.
· Listen to a teaching podcast.
I’ll be doing this all while spending time with family & friends, getting some much needed exercise, reading a fun fiction novel, and kicking my feet up and doing nothing for a bit!
Be Ready for YOUR reEntry!
Let’s face it - you need to be ready to get back to school! Especially this year! Even though we seem to be headed into a post-pandemic period of teaching and learning, there is no guarantee. Everything keeps changing, so you need to be ready for anything!
How you reenter your post-covid classroom will set the tone for the coming months, year, and even your entire teaching future!
Do you have a reEntry plan in place? If not ...
Get my Ultimate 4-step Preparation Guide for your back-to-school REENTRY PLAN!