Teaching With Joy

July 2003


Summer Recess
by Joy Jones

     It’s summertime and school’s out.   What are you going to do with your
summer recess?  A lot of people will tell you this is the ideal time to go to
school yourself, take a professional development course, plan for the upcoming school year, or clean out all the closets in your house.

     Don’t do any of that stuff.  Well, let me clarify.  What I want to say is -
don’t make “doing” the priority, make your priority “being.”  At the risk of
sounding like a new-age airhead, I’d like to recommend resting.  Repose,
relaxation, and doing nothing are all honorable states.

     Our western culture values anything that’s action-packed.  If something can be made to go faster then it must be better.  People pay good money to take time management courses because they have so many things to do.  Multi-tasking has become a way of life.

     However, I say resting is just as important as any of these other skills. 
Sufficient rest is the foundation for any activity.  Life has an alternating
cycle of daylight and moonlight, rest and activity, business and stillness.   We need to respect both sides of life’s symmetry.  The very word ‘recess’ gives us a clue about how important resting is.  Recess has two meanings.  It means to take a break but it also means a secret, inner or hidden place.  Each of us has a hidden inner place that needs renewing on a regular basis.  Being quiet, sitting still, honoring a time and place for peace and leisure help to keep that core centered and grounded.  Many of us run with only one side of the equation and thus become emotionally lopsided, burned out, even dangerous.

     This summer, give yourself a valuable gift - nothing.  Make space to relax.  It’s time for recess.


Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children’s book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.  You may view her web site at: www.JoyJonesOnline.com.





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