Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sabbatical, you say... what?

As of May 15, I have officially been “on sabbatical”. I mentioned in the last post that a sabbatical is possibly the greatest perk of teaching at a university (next to getting to know all those amazing, intelligent students, of course.) But exactly what sabbatical means might be unclear to you. You are not alone.

The sabbatical was invented by God Himself, who instructed Moses that after six years of planting, the ground needed a rest. At some point in history, the similarity between profs and dirt was discovered and it was determined that academics need occasional rest as well. Sort of. Whether the sabbatical is actually a time of rest is up for debate. Here’s what Webster has to say: a sabbatical is “a year or half-year of absence for study, rest, or travel, given at intervals, originally every seven years, to teachers at some colleges and universities.”

So my sabbatical means I will be absent from TWU for the next half-year and that I will be resting, studying, and travelling. And directing, and seeing a lot of theatre.

The theatre-going has begun in earnest, as I am in the middle of seeing 11 shows in 10 days, mostly at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. My next post will be an update on what I see.

Sabbatical is a really cool idea (I find God has many of those) and it seems to me that the ultimate goal is bigger than a break from routine. For insight into the higher purpose of sabbaticals, I like these thoughts, which I found on the Boston University School of Theology website:

Sabbaticals are not vacations, but carefully planned periods of time devoted to
study, reflection, rest, and renewal. They frequently become a path to
understanding one's vocation in new ways or as a vehicle for a transformed
sense of identity. This is a time to experience "being" in addition to
"doing"; it should be a time of freedom and authenticity. One of the goals
of a sabbatical is to return renewed and refreshed.
There are many words and phrases in that short paragraph that resonate for me. I’ve got a lot of activities planned between now and December, and my hope is that they will provide both professional development and spiritual renewal. These entries will be a great opportunity to process my experiences.

I might even come to understand my vocation in a new way...

1 comment:

Sean said...

Who says vacations aren't sabaticals?