I haven't touched base with my Teaching Underground partner too much this summer break so far, but before the last day of school, we struggled a little trying to figure out what the Teaching Underground would look like over the break. The online community is fickle. We've noticed that a catchy title will generate traffic and a reference to something popular (new Harry Potter movie) can boost visits. Mostly, we find that when we add meaningful content regularly, more than once a week, we have a pretty strong following. When the posting comes more sporadically, the obvious occurs.
I find it hard to stay relevant to the online community. Creating something meaningful that only lives for 2 to 7 days before becoming stale is difficult and sometimes discouraging. Especially when you're engaged in a career in which you hope that your impact will last a lifetime. I find it easy to post during the school year when my schedule is fixed and predictable. But my summers are anything but that.
My last week was spent with over twenty teenagers serving a community three hours away. We lived together and spent our days running a day camp for children and fixing up homes in the neighborhood. I strengthened relationships with teenagers that I work with regularly in our church and created new relationships with people in the community we served. I didn't have time to write because every minute of my day was spent interacting with others.
That's what most of my summer will look like. I will be away from my home, away from a reliable internet connection, often disconnected from the world of news and information for days at a time. I don't feel irrelevant because of that. If anything, I think that sometimes we mistake relevance as understanding the big picture. If we worry to much about the big picture it is easy to forsake the smaller world that we move about in every day.
I'm not sure if this fits in so well with the theme here at TU, but I think that as a teacher, it might be one of the more important lessons to remember. We may not be celebrated on the front cover of magazines. We're likely to be the last voice interviewed on the six o'clock news. Not many of us have a national platform or get called to the big speaking gigs. Honestly, if we are, we just might be worried so much about being relevant that we forget to be relevant to the people that matter the most-- the ones within our eyesight and earshot day in and day out.