I never felt like I had much of a break when I was in the classroom. Thanksgiving break was spent planning for 3rd quarter, and Christmas break was spent planning out the 4th quarter and the close of the school year. Even being out sick was a task that most of the time I felt was not worth the work that came with it, so I would push through.
As another school year comes to a close, it is easy to get caught up in the tedious cycle of looking ahead and planning for the upcoming school year. Much of my summer vacation was spent reflecting on the previous school year, looking at my incoming students’ test scores, and planning for the 1st semester of the next year. As educators, we have to take care of ourselves before we can expect to take care of anyone else. This summer, I hope in between your planning, you will take some time for self-care.
- Read a book for fun: Don’t be like me and read the books you plan on teaching next school year with your students, but simply read a book that you enjoy and find pleasure when reading. I have a collection of books I have been collecting and have not had the time to read, and I am sure you do too. Books can take you to faraway places without ever leaving your home. Allow yourself to get lost in a good book!
- Attend a conference: While this may be something that educators do in order to improve their pedagogy and help in their planning for the upcoming school year, it is a great way to recharge your batteries as well. Going to a conference allows you to learn from your peers, share best practices, and meet new people from other parts of the country. I find that going to conferences allows me to reignite my passion for the profession in addition to learning new strategies.
- Take a trip: Go somewhere you have not been before, or spend time with family members you have not seen in a while. Whatever you do, just get up, get out, and do something! Check out your local museum, go to the zoo, or take a “stay-cation” in which you check out the local attractions in your hometown. Being active and exploring are great ways to decompress from the school year.
- Do something you have always wanted to do: What is one thing that you have been putting off all school year? Maybe you wanted to take a cooking class, or maybe you want to learn how to make pottery. For me, I have been procrastinating starting a work out class at the local gym. This summer, I would like to finally start working out. Whatever you choose to do, have fun and make lasting memories!
The new school year will be here before you know it, and you will be back in your routine, doing what you do best: educating students. No matter how much you prepare over the summer, your students next year will be just fine. One thing that we can never have back is time – it is precious! Spend your summer preparing, but also, spend your summer enjoying yourself, practicing self-care, and embracing this journey we call life. Take care of yourselves my friends!