Choice Theory, Education, School culture, Student Empowerment and Relationships

I didn’t go into education for summers off.

I didn’t go into education for summers off.

I went into education because I discovered this fire within me to help school be a more need-satisfying experience for students. For me as a student, passionate learning happened outside of school hours–when I was holed up in my room discovering incredible stories from our past, dreaming about what could be in our future, or just visiting with a great Beverly Cleary friend. School was not a place of joy and excitement, but rather monotony and compliance. I knew it didn’t have to be that way, and, as a second year college student, I developed this incredible sense of responsibility to help school be different.

That is why I went into education. And, that helps me understand why I don’t feel like my best self during summer break.

In my book, The Path to Serendipity, I talk about William Glasser’s Choice Theory. Glasser said that we are all born with five basic needs:  freedom, fun, power, belonging, and survival. If school is a need-satisfying place for us, it means that we are able to meet our needs in the school environment. For me, school is most definitely a need-satisfying place. I laugh multiple times a day, I get about a bazillion hugs from students and staff, I have deep and meaningful conversations with people I love, and (trust me!) there is always plenty to eat. I am not sure I even want summer break because school is so incredible.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a more relaxed schedule, and I like to sleep in sometimes. I like to have more time with my family. There are many benefits to having a break. But, the truth is, when it gets to the middle of the summer, I don’t feel like my best self. I am not as good at meeting my five basic needs in the summer as I am during the school year.

This summer will be different. I am going to make more of a conscious effort to meet my needs for freedom, fun, belonging, power, and survival. Freedom and fun are pretty easy needs to meet in the summer, and I am lucky to not have to worry too much about having what I need to survive. So, the areas where I come up short in the summer are belonging and power. Now that I have identified the areas where I need to focus, I can make a more specific plan to meet those needs.

How about you? I know I am a weirdo, but am I the only educator out there who struggles a bit in the summer? Or, do you struggle to meet your needs during the summer too? Do you feel like your best self during the summer, or do you feel like a part of you is missing? Please share in the comments or at #Path2Serendipity. We are better together!

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.

-Benjamin Franklin


2 thoughts on “I didn’t go into education for summers off.”

  1. Don’t Laugh – I totally did go into teaching for the summers off (as well as the day after Thanksgiving and spring break – I know terrible!), but what I found was that working with kids is #AMAZING! My motivation was not “time off,” but “time for fun” and when I’m with students, life is fun. What I realize now is that my job is really to create spaces for them to fall in love with learning and when I get that right – it’s a lot of joy for both of us. My passion for summer is that I get to continue to build those spaces outside the classroom walls by supporting cool summer programs for kids and getting to hang out more with the four that live in my house and are growing up way too fast. The key for me is to mindfully keep that summer passion learning all year long because #LearningShouldBeSuperFun right?

    Liked by 1 person

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