A Calm Before…

…I was going to say “storm,” but that seems a bit pejorative.  Surely the return of teachers to their sacred work is anything, but a “storm”.  However, “calm”?  The week before school?  Well that isn’t quite accurate either…

I’m back for seconds!  Although the raw number of readers is appropriately super-small considering there isn’t much reason for anyone outside of my school community to read what I’m writing, the fact anyone who didn’t “have” to read it, did, still amazes.  It only took one blog for me to realize the power of this new (to me) vehicle of communication.  I found each comment I received in response affirming and instructive – and I appreciate the fact that anyone had a spare moment to send it.  To be part of an unpredictable, ever-changing community of people who share a passion for teaching and learning is nothing less than invigorating.

And so here I sit with a week of summer left before my teachers return and two weeks before my students (still largely unknown to me as I enter my first year as head of this school) fill the hallways with the magical noise that only a school can create.  Items have been checked off the list.  Rooms have been painted.  Handbooks have been edited and await printing.  Teachers have been slowly popping in to get a head start on their rooms. Parents have been slowly popping in to get a head start on being good parents, organized for another year of schooling.

I always find this last week to be a liminal experience – poised between wistful longing for all the things I hoped to do over the summer and the nervous excitement about all that is about to happen.  It is one of those experiences that only those of us who have spent their entire lives on a school calendar can appreciate.  Each year at this time, I feel echoes of my younger student self – only instead of worrying about which color Trapper Keeper to buy, I worry about which iPad app to download.

And so to my colleagues, teachers, parents, and students, I wish you a restful week.  See that last matinee.  Spend those extra minutes with your family before night meetings begin.  Go eat some ice cream and watch the sun set.  Finish that book you were hoping to read this summer (or to my teachers “required” to read!).  Another summer draws to a close and a new school year prepares to begin.  Another opportunity for us all to be better than we were the year before.  Everything is possible.

A question: I have opened a Twitter account…I am just not sure why!  To those who tweet and those who follow…what am I missing?  Discuss…

Author: Jon Mitzmacher

Dr. Jon Mitzmacher is the Head of the Ottawa Jewish Community School. Jon is studying to be a rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion and is on the faculty of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) as a mentor. He was most recently the VP of Innovation for Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools.  He is the former Executive Director of the Schechter Day School Network.  He is also the former head of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, a K-8 Solomon Schechter, located in Jacksonville, FL, and part of the Jacksonville Jewish Center.  He was the founding head of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas.  Jon has worked in all aspects of Jewish Education from camping to congregations and everything in between.

8 thoughts on “A Calm Before…”

  1. Ian Jukes calls Twitter the 21st century fax machine. You will discover your own Personal Learning Community on Twitter, and I think your school community will appreciate the speed at which you can distribute short bits of information. Bravo for embracing all that technology can offer you and the community of learners. All the best!

  2. Hi there. I am a grade 3 teacher from Regina, SK, Canada. I came across your blog on Twitter through Sylvia Tolisano. I started following Sylvia after I had the amazing opportunity to see her at a conference I attended.

    Funny you should ask this question about Twitter. I just wrote a blog post about this very subject called “What Twitter Has Done for Me.” Here is the link to my blog post:

    Good luck in your new position.

  3. Aside from my Master’s program, Twitter is the best professional development I have ever participated in. Educational conversations are ongoing with people from around the world. I have “borrowed” so many ideas from others that I follow on Twitter. I can tune in whenever I want and I can post my blogs there so people can respond to my thoughts. IMO, Twitter is the best collaborative tool out there!

  4. Hello and welcome to the blog/twitter sphere. Regarding twitter…there are lots of great resources online (many that have been shared here) that explain twitter. Here is a good intro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddO9idmax0o

    You want to follow people who interest you, as well as have people follow you back. It is like a big, asynchronous conversation. It also exists beyond twitter. For example, the reason so many people found and read/responded to your first blog post is because Silvia Tolisano linked to it on twitter. Many people follow her and will check out links she posts. You should get in the habit of tweeting the link every time you blog (if you want people outside of the school community to read it).
    Also, if someone reads it and likes it, they may tweet the link to their followers. And if you read something interesting anywhere on the web, you can share those links on twitter, too. Hope that’s helpful for a start.
    I echo what the previous commenters have said about twitter. It opens the walls of your office/school to the wide world of other schools and educators to share, learn, ask questions, etc. It is about making connections.

  5. Echo to those who have already commented regarding why you should do Twitter. Sylvia, too, connected me to tweet professionally and helped me to understand that Twitter is your own pr0fessional newspaper, keeping you undated and in the know for professional learning. She also connected me to your blog, which I am following. I appreciate your thoughtful writing regarding connecting the spiritual and secular, specifically why teaching (and learning) is doing God’s work. I am a Christian teaching in a public school. Though I cannot outwardly teach His Word, I can model it with my work. Thanks for your clarity and positive perspectives.

    1. Thank you for both the suggestions and the kind words. I would love to connect more with leaders and teachers in other faith-based schools seeking to integrate the secular with the spiritual. If you are following others on twitter or blogs, please let me know.

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