What Did You Do on Your Winter Vacation?

     We always ask students, "What did you do on your summer vacation?"  I am going to share with you what I've done (so far) on my Christmas vacation.  To me this is a very typical Christmas break; but I wonder if others would read this and think otherwise.

     My wife and children (13 and 16 years old) got our Christmas tree on December 21st.  A tad later than we usually get it, but it was Saturday and we were all together.  We get our tree from a local Boy Scout group at my church.  They are always very nice and they put it in that net thing and tie it to the top of my van.

     My brother-in-law came from North Carolina to stay with us during Christmas week -- which was very nice since we don't see him that often.  My in-laws also live with us, so Christmas Day was a nice family affair with extended family.  On the day after Christmas, we had our "more" extended family Christmas party with about 15 people.  This sometimes turns into an eating-all-day thing; but also lots of smiles and laughter.

     In a couple of days we are traveling to visit my brother and his family in New Jersey.  Once again, food and laughter and family.  Lots of people joke about the down side of spending time with family, but I never feel that way.  I enjoy visiting with family members.  I've never experienced the oft-cited stress related to these events.  I especially like it when the cousins get to see and play with each other.  They enjoy it and I hope that they will stay in touch when they are adults.  (Trying to set a good example.)

     Professionally, during down time over the vacation, I am reading a book about teaching students who grow up in poverty.  It seems we are always trying to find a way to reach these students and after 25 years in education, I am still trying.  I know it can be done and as a country, it must be done.  Public schools have a moral responsibility to educate all students.  I want to do my part, and (if possible) I want to help others to do this too.

     Vacation is a time (for me) to think about what I've accomplished and to look ahead at the challenges that still call out for a solution.  Problem solving is a big part of work (and art) of education.  I know that I value time to think and time to study and time to consider possible solutions.

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