Week 37 – Summer Has Begun

Week 37 – Summer Has Begun

Today is my official first day of summer.  Let’s take a look at how the final week and a half went!


I like how our school does the final exam schedule.  It’s basically half days with two final exams in the morning (with a 30 minute break in between the two), and students are free to leave after lunch or stick around and go to office hours with any of their teachers.  It’s really excellent for teachers because I was able to get all my grading, student comments, etc. done while they tested and in the afternoons.  Had a few students come to study on Monday afternoon since their test was later in the week.  Also had some super-organized 6th grade girls come help clean up my room as well as help finish organizing our robotics kits (we weren’t able to completely finish that in class before finals week).  Super helpful.


This week was campus clean-up and other wrap up stuff.  They’re doing some significant renovation to our school (which is a bunch of old Victorian houses in downtown Austin) so no one is guaranteed the same room next semester.  I keep things pretty minimal and everything I had was packed into two boxes.  We got our summer read – Better by Atul Gawande.  It’s written by a surgeon and can be summed up in the statement ‘how do you excel in something that’s so easy to fail in.’  I’m excited on two fronts- I like reading books outside of education that talk about excellence and applying it to school AND I think it’ll be good for me to read something that gives me an inside glimpse of the medical world that Sara is in.

Yesterday was our last official day and we spent the morning doing an acknowledgement circle, which is us where each teacher is acknowledged by their peers.  It sounds kind of woo-woo and we do it every year and I wasn’t all that excited about it beforehand but was really glad we did it afterwards.  It’s pretty powerful to get a chance to share the things that you value and appreciate about your peers in an open forum and have them do the same for you.  No one has to share and we limited it to two minutes per person so it wouldn’t take forever, but I think there’s value being on both ends of the acknowledgement.  There’s this book called The 5 Love Languages, which identifies 5 of the ways that most people give or receive love (words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch).  I’m a words of affirmation guy, and to be honest, who doesn’t like people saying nice things about them (minus the awkward self-conscious thoughts of ‘oh man, does my body language communicate that I appreciated that comment’).  While it doesn’t need to be super structured, I think the culture of any workplace could be uplifted with some form of peer acknowledgments.

We then had a great end-of-year party with all three campuses -early childhood campus, elementary campus, and secondary campus.


Someone told me that the first day of summer is the best because it’s the moment that the first day of school is most distant.  It’s true.  Sara and I will be going to Africa this summer to do some medical mission work through her residency program.  I’ll be doing a bit of filmmaking and helping out in the hospitals in whatever way they need.  I’m also doing some planning for next year with the drone initiative, possibly teaching Algebra 1 (something I’ve never taught), and just revising things that need to be revised.  I usually spend just a little time each week during the summer doing school stuff.  I enjoy it for the most part and it doesn’t end up creeping up on me at the end of summer.

I’ll likely blog some this summer about the Africa stuff as well as things I’m thinking through with my curriculum.

Thanks for reading!  I’d love to hear what your summer plans are going to be!

By Thom H Gibson

I help middle school STEM teachers create meaningful & memorable experiences for their students. Teacher, podcaster, YouTuber. Two-time teacher of the year

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