The school bus drove by this morning picking up neighborhood school children eager for the start of a brand new year. I watched it go by – and went back into the house. For 35 years, my inner calendar kicked into gear on the arrival of this powerful day – the beginning of another school year. Today is different. The school year has begun without me. My inner calendar ready to rev up, but nowhere to go. Retired? Not yet. Today, I enter into a fall semester sabbatical leave. A time away. A time to devote my energies toward the life of a scholar. I have work cut out for me, but its by my arrangement. I have articles to read and papers to write – but it is on my calendar. My first task perhaps the most important. My first task is to stop, to relax, breathe deeply of the crisp morning air, and plan out my day.
A mini-sabbatical comes three years into a tenure track position. The goal of a mini-sabbatical is to help launch the scholarly life of a developing professor. I am released from teaching – but retain my committee work. Not completely off, but substantially off.
So on to my scholarly life. I have several papers I’d like to write (and ideally see published) including…
• The impact of a science notebook in a preservice elementary science methods course.
• Exploring the art of teaching through an equine assisted model.
• Speaking cleanly in the classroom – the role of language to support a student centered learning environment
• The impact of early education experiences on choice of teaching profession.
Tomorrow morning after breakfast, I will throw my computer into my backpack and head up to the local coffee shop, sip some java and begin my foray into a scholarly life. I’m looking forward to the adventure.