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Assets in Action: Take some time off this summer

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By The Staff

This week, let’s talk about boundaries and expectations in the schools, in local business and in the life of the student.

As the topic relates to schools, I want to caution school staff not to spend the next 2-3 weeks in the classroom prior to the official start of school. If you aren’t required to be back in the building yet, try to stay away as much as possible.

Hold on, inhale and listen for just a minute. As educators, I’m sure you try to get the message across to your students that they need balance. They can’t play too many video games or spend too much time outside when they know they have homework to do that night.

A similar idea is afoot when you spend 20, 30 or 40 hours a week in the classroom, when you don’t even have a contract to be there yet. One year the district wouldn’t turn on air conditioners because staff wasn’t supposed to be there. Think of it as a cost-saving effort on behalf of the district; you’ll save electricity and your sanity.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to go in and arrange the desks and make the new student name tags or fill in the roll book prior to the first day. I even know you might want to hang the official welcome back items or new posters you bought over the summer.

What I’m concerned about is that you are exhausted to be there even before the bell rings to welcome everyone through the door. I’m worried that you’ve been in the building so long this summer that a part of you isn’t really happy to see everyone back. Maybe, secretly, it is because they have no idea how hard at work you have been already — and it shows.

I won’t elaborate on the definition of summer, but it is summer. Unless you are a first-time teacher or in a new school this year, you know what you are doing and you know in your heart that even if you spend 100 hours there, it all still never gets done. It is sort of like housecleaning. No matter how much you do, there’s always more.

The other reason for that is, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I’ve had this discussion with educators before, but why should you be paid, when you’re willing to work for free so much? How will anyone ever understand the need for common planning time, when you’ve worked on so many hours of it for free?

Now I’ll move on to those in the non-school world. I throw the same question at you. Unless you’re a doctor — and by that I mean one that may be called to LAMC in the middle of the night – do you really need to be at work after hours? I’ve heard that people want to make a good impression or that they are networking. In my day, that was out on the golf course. What it really makes me wonder is, do you like to be with your family, do you have a hobby or a pastime?

Summer is passing as we speak! Try asking for a few hours off on a Friday afternoon or surprise the family and take a Monday off to make it a three-day weekend. Yes, your teenager will roll their eyes and you will ruin someone’s life by their lack of ability to play online. Do it anyway, life is short.

Finally parents, please try in these last three weeks to let your kids enjoy doing nothing. I recently talked to the parent of a student who had three activities the parent paid for them to do every day. I’d love to be able to ask the student if they were happy about it. I also wonder if the bottom dropped out, would it be their greatest opportunity or their worst moment?

Take a day to sleep in, eat cereal for lunch or go to the movies on a weeknight. Pretty soon, you’ll wish for those opportunities and they won’t be available to you. Things don’t slow down, so grab on to it any chance you can.

Bernadette Lauritzen is the Assets Coordinator for Los Alamos. She can be reached at assetsinaction@att.net or 661-4846.

She can also be heard Mondays on AM 1490, KRSN with Monday Matters. Assets In Action is sponsored by the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.