Charles Vest, National Academy of Engineering President and former MIT President states, “I cannot imagin MIT without it’s visual arts component, it would not be MIT and we would not attract those kinds of kinds. Any of the really good high schools that are succeeding….the integration of Arts into their curriculum is very important part. The maker movement attracts kids from left brain and right brain and everything in between. I’m a big believer in the STEAM movement-we are failing in our core STEM areas.”
Have you ever considered taking a sabbatical leave? I have debated on taking a sabbatical a few times over the past 20 years of teaching. I never could justify the need of leaving my post for a year. Finally, in the spring of 2012 I decided it was time to embark on a leave of absence for educational purposes. Although there were many reasons, both personal and professional, that helped me to make this decision, it still was not an easy one.
Should I? Shouldn’t I? Can I put committee commitments on hold for a year? Do I really need the time off? Will I be able to occupy my time without becoming bored? How will being off affect my retirement income? What are the credit requirements I have to uphold in order to get a sabbatical? And, finally, but most importantly, can I really go back to school at my age? After completing all of the necessary research, filing out endless paperwork, and making inquiries with personnel the decision was made and the leave approved.
Now, jumping ahead 8 months I have to wonder, “What took me so long?” Where has the time gone? Why did I have so many questions about taking this time off? This sabbatical has refreshed my body and mind, taught me how to relax, and given me knowledge in areas that I never thought I would be able to achieve. I feel younger and stronger and more creative than I have in years. I can blog, Skype, and “tweet” with the best of them. And teaching in the 21st century is no longer intimidating, it is invigorating.
My advice for you, if you are so inclined, is to embrace a sabbatical and be kind to yourself.