Jen Robinson Uncategorized

SHARE THIS STORY: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+

The past ten weeks have slipped away, some days blurry, others skipped by very purposefully, others were over before they started and a few seemed longed than they should have been. But, this week a calm has washed over our campus – fall break. As I move between tasks I am content, my thoughts are clear, I am focused on the sound of the maintenance team sanding our outside doors preparing for new paint. All week there has been a flitter of activity on campus with teams doing one thing or another, replacing ceiling tiles, ripping up and tacking down new carpet or resealing the floor in our multipurpose room. I am excited for the return of students, staff and parents next week. However, this quiet time was much needed. Not only for myself, for teachers, staff, students and parents– a time to rejuvenate and rest, a time to reflect and refocus.

A few teachers were in and out preparing for the week that awaits them after break. Parents stopped by to withdraw or enroll students. I don’t want to lose kids, but I also understand that sometimes life happens and families have to move on. That said we will always have new students and parents join our family.  That’s just the way it happens. Some months more, others less, we have come to know it as part of who we are, a constant flow of new students in and familiar faces leaving. I wonder who will move on and who will join us?

I love coming into school over break and listening to the building. I know it sounds quirky, but during the school day, it is too easy to get caught up in walk-throughs and evaluations, meetings and professional development, breakfast, lunch and duties, arrival and dismissal, analyzing assessment data and facilitating grade level plc’s, observing student behavior and meeting with parents. Time over break gives me a chance to walk around the playground, swing on the swings, slowly walk down the dark hallways, and gaze into empty classrooms reflecting on teaching and learning. I see students engaged in learning and working in groups to solve problems. I hear teachers refocusing students and asking questions pushing them to explain their thinking. I feel fortunate to get to do this work and do it along side amazing people who put children first and do what it takes to achieve greatness. It is a time for me to reflect on teaching and learning, on student and teacher growth and goals. It is a time to re-evaluate the past ten weeks with a clear mind and an open heart, looking ahead with eyes wide open, preparing for what lies ahead in the next ten weeks.

When you have a break, in what ways do you rejuvenate and rest, reflect and refocus? How do you reset?


Jen Robinson

Maricopa, Arizona

Hello, my name is Jen Robinson. I have been in education for over 20 years. I began teaching in Buffalo, NY in 1992, as a pre-school special education teacher. My experience ranges from primary grades through high school. My husband and I moved to Arizona in 2001, where we were fortunate enough to teach at the same school. In 2004, I achieved National Board Certification and currently support candidates. In 2011 I completed my Ed.D. in Leadership and Innovation. My dissertation research focused on supporting National Board candidates through their certification process. During the 2012-2013 school year, I completed my National Board renewal process. It was humbling and very powerful to step back into a classroom. I am currently an elementary principal. I am excited and hopeful for the new school year. I also serve on the Arizona Teacher Solutions Team where we are solutions focused in an effort to transform and elevate the teaching profession.

» Jen's Stories
» Contact Jen

Comments 2

  1. Jess Ledbetter

    Jen, I totally love the idea of you swinging on a swing on the playground! :)
    My district is also on Fall Break this week. Gosh, it is glorious to catch up on the many things that have been pushed aside over these last ten weeks of madness. I don’t think that non-educators understand how much fall break is needed by the staff. Getting the school year started each year is so exhausting. Fall break always gives me time to catch up and get my feet back on the ground so that I can make it through the rest of the year. When non-educators comment (slightly judgmentally) that they don’t get a fall break in their jobs, I want to offer them the opportunity to come and be a teacher for those ten weeks, to work the 12 hour days, to work the weekends, to get stuck at school long after you thought you’d be home. Non-educators don’t realize the amount of extra time that educators work outside the work day. For me, I think that fall break is well-deserved for all!

  2. Sandy Merz

    I love Kristie Martorelli’s metaphor that juggling the various tasks of teaching is like a waiter with a full tray. When it gets too full you have two choices – put it down and rearrange things to get a better balance – or let it fall and break everything.
    My reset is to draw a big picture or make an outline or something visible that shows all the different areas of work – School, NB support, AZ K12 Center Work, CTQ work, blogging, etc. Having them all in visible in someplace outside my brain shows me that even though there are a lot of things, they are concrete, numerable, finite, and bounded.
    Then it makes it a lot easier to get in the mindset to work rather than run away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *