Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer Time

We all know the old adage about the three best reasons to be a teacher: June, July and August.

Indeed summer vacation is surely one of the most special aspects of the teacher's work cycle. The summer off provides time to recharge one's batteries, learn and prepare new material, and strategize for institutional and classroom improvements - in short, it is time to reflect.

But isn't that what tefilla is all about? It is a time to reflect on the past, present and future and to verbalize our needs and wants and to change what we may not like about our situation. The same could also be said about Shabbat - having a day separate from the work week to pause from the hustle and bustle and to re-calibrate one's needs and focus. No wonder the concept of a professional sabbatical exists! Reflection is indeed a uniquely human disposition.

My thought for today is this - perhaps our davening should evoke the same emotions and mind set that each of has about summer vacation, by this I mean that tefilla presents for us an opportunity to reflect expansively about new approaches to difficult situations. Using the formula and rituals of the siddur, I can drift away from the hectic schedule of the school and meditate on my purpose and being.

Further to this point, davening at summer camps and other informal educational environments has a more natural feeling than it does in many schools. Summer is awesome! How can we make tefilla in our schools awesome? How can we bring the spirit of the summer into the classroom shul? Let's explore ideas on how to make such steps.

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