Sunday, July 27, 2014

5 Ways to Get in Shape for Back to School Without Sweating

(courtesy of

Back to school is around the corner and students and teachers are starting to twitch and shake awkwardly as they try to deny the reality that yes, we have to go back to school. Extending summer is not an option.

As I was watching my own kids as they process the fact that their middle school sports begin in 5 short days, I see the look in their eyes when they realized that they had done very little, if anything, to physically prepare themselves for the conditioning that is approaching rapidly. Yep, a summer of much deserved relaxation and laziness has quickly turned into panic as they realize that running out of breath hurrying up the stairs is a sign of being out of shape. Granted they are 13 and it will only take a few days, maybe a week, to get back into top form, the reality is there are still the first few days of painful calisthenics that will rock their worlds. They will cry, they will hurt.

Much like my children, teachers that I have bumped into over the past week or so at the grocery or the park have an eerily similar look on their faces and a quiver in the tone of their voices. They too realize that what has been a much deserved, earned and appreciated few weeks away from school has just turned into the daunting reality that they too are "out of shape" for their own return to reality.

No worries. I have an easy fix, promise. As you wind down your summer, take a look at these 5 quick pieces of advice to get you in shape for the upcoming year. And remember, you too will be right back in top form in no time at all. And, most likely, never break a sweat!

1. Get On Twitter, Now. Whether to use it as a resource for information or using it as a resource of information, there is not one person within my Professional Learning Network (PLN) that has ever been disappointed in their feed. Follow people, read their ramblings and follow along on a chat or two. If you have made it this far, you can surely hop on one of the greatest social media platforms to learners.

2. If You Can't Read About It, Watch It. Or, Even Better, Listen To It. We know, never enough time in the day. Therefore, we have to make the time we do have as purposeful as possible while still leaving time for the joys of day-to-day life. YouTube, TeacherTube and the Internet in general have thousands upon thousands of educational and timely videos for you to stumble upon by simply typing in some key words. And, if you don't have the time for that, when out on your next walk, listen to that book you have been dying to read - on tape. I wish I would have started that years ago. I do it now and get through a book a month, if not more.

3. Tag, You're It! Pick Up The Phone. Sometimes we forget about a tool we have now taken for granted when it comes to connecting us across the miles. Face it, during the day we have some of the best conversations with our colleagues while walking the halls or grabbing a fresh cup of coffee. And, if that isn't a part of your daily routine, then phone a friend. We used to rely on the old-fashioned telephone for years. Now that everyone has gone to texting, Facebook or other methods of connecting we often forget about something so simple. And to think we use to have rotary phones. Remember having to re-dial with that device?

4. Write It Down, All Of It. We often tell our students, and even ourselves, to take notes, make flashcards and re-write our work in an attempt to learn the material "better". Take that concept and tie it into our own lives. If an idea comes across your plate or you have wrapped up a conversation with a colleague, jot down some notes of what went wrong, or right, so that you can learn from that next time. That is what this blogging thing is all about for many.

5. Simply, Start Moving. The world of education has some of the most brilliant minds on the planet and you are one of them. With that in mind and having that belief within you then you need to commit yourself to connect, reach out, drive, fly, walk or crawl into a conversation, a book an article or an opportunity with the intent of being better. You won't regret it. And, as a bonus, getting back into shape will come quicker then ever.

Ready. Set. Go.

Enjoy the rest of the summer!


  1. Craig this is great advice for all of us. While I feel like I have stayed active over the summer, I can also use more of each of the five things you suggested. Those that take this advice and are ready for that first week will have a distinct advantage over those that don't. Great piece!

  2. Agreed! This is great advice. Last year my administrator encouraged all of us to get on Twitter. I was convinced I wouldn't learn much from 140 characters, but I've had to eat those words on a daily basis. My PLN has brought me inspiration, a new perspective, and encouraged me in ways that don't always happen in real life. Thank you for the reminders of ways to start the year with a great mindset.