In the Heat of the Summer…

I remember when school people often took the month of July off. Today, as our schools have evolved and changed calendars and schedules, year-round school and August starts are not unusual. Our school calendars are now 24/7 and our vacation times are scarce!

As we enter this month, I’m reminded of the heat it brings. As I write this, I’m in 90-degree weather. Just opening the door brings on the heat! Our workplaces may also be hot. Maybe it’s a change in administration, new directions, retirements or just the continuing challenges of providing safe student transportation – but we’re also feeling this alternate kind of heat.

The heat our positions generate can be just as oppressive as the weather! Feeling under the gun, stressed, overwhelmed and frustrated seems to turn up the heat. If you feel unheard, unrecognized or even misunderstood, it turns up the heat even more. This heat makes us question ourselves, doubt our skills and feel defeated. I’ll take the heat of weather over this type of heat any day!

If you find yourself identifying with any of the symptoms described above, take heart. Weather can change, and you do have the power to regulate your heat! It’s about our responses, our thoughts and our actions. It’s important to separate feelings from reality and to do a quick “reality check.” 

Sometimes our stress is imagined or a reaction to changes around us. We may be feeling the angst in our school districts and allowing it to impact us. A reality check is when you take a few moments to adequately evaluate the situation. Is it you? Are you overreacting or reacting to something external? Are you overtired or fatigued? Do you need a break to take a moment to breathe? Are you adequately interpreting what’s happening around you? Can you determine what you have control over and what you need to manage?  A reality check allows you to do a self-check and to regain your professional balance.

What you do is complicated, intense and requires skills. Your work matters, and that’s evident every day as students are transported safely and your team operates efficiently. You know that, and you take great pride in supporting our profession. Do not allow the heat to derail you! You got this.

People often ask me why I’m so passionate about professional development. The heat of our jobs is one of the reasons. Professional development increases your skills, allows you to make new contacts and expands your horizon. It gives you new knowledge and enhances your perspectives. It can be a career changer! Every time I learn, I grow. I become better at what I do and, hopefully, I offer my organization more.

To those of you who are attending your state conferences this summer, remember what a great opportunity that is to expand your professional toolbox and lower the heat!