We all need a break. The kids need a break. We look forward to it, a countdown to it, it is a needed refreshing time. But how do you make sure you get the most from this needed time away from the classroom? Here are five suggestions. Let me know if you have any others.
Because, as I said before, we all need a break!
1. Have at least one day of materials ready for your return printed out and ready to go to your desk.
It is impossible to relax when you are not ready for the day you go back. You tell yourself that you are too busy to do it now. And trust me I understand. But even having a skill they can review, ready and printed on your desk, will allow you to clear your mind and focus on your friends and family.
PLEASE, print this stuff out! You never know when the tech department is going to do a major update, but the long holiday would be a perfect time while all the teachers are gone. One year I was all ready to go, and I walked in and found out that our WiFi was down. Every teacher was at the copier. It was a nightmare. You don't want this on your first day back.
2. Take these last few days to connect with some of your more "challenging" students.
We all got into teaching because of the students. The teachers that are happiest in their career have great relationships with students. Take these last few days to ask a question, shake a hand, or connect in another way with some of those more challenging students. You will be so glad you did, and you will find you feel even better about taking a break. I know you do this, but this is a friendly reminder because this time of year is crazy! And it makes a big difference.
3. Do not make a school centered to do list. "I get to" vs. "I have to" makes all the difference.
You may want to head to school over the break. I will not tell you not to do that. But please make sure it is a WANT and not a MUST. You need a break from "I have to." This strategy goes back to the top tip, be sure you have one day ready. If you do and you still want to head in to catch up, organize, etc. fine, but be sure it is because you want to, not because you must!
4. Clear your desk and your computer's desktop.
Knowing you left your desk clear and your computer de-cluttered will feel so good both when you leave and when you return. Think about your desk all clean and wiped down with nothing but the day's copies of it ready for teaching when you come back. The feeling can be magical after the craziness of December.
5. Make a list of 10 things you love about teaching.
Focus on the things that make you happy. Be grateful for that student you connect with every day. Be glad the copier was working, and your copies are ready. Be happy about teaching. This positive attitude makes going back so much easier.
I know, I know, there is a lot to be frustrated with, but we are not focusing on that right now. We are focused on the good. What you focus on will grow. Dwelling on the negative has never made anyone feel refreshed. Concentrate on the good, the rewarding, the long-term effects you are having on students. Focus on the relationships and the looks on their faces when they finally "get it." This positive focus will allow you to refresh and ready to come back!
So why are you waiting? Take a couple of minutes and if you are a member, log in and print out your materials. If you are not a member, we are happy to welcome you to the membership if this a good time for you to join. (We have your materials ready!) Clean off that desk or delegate a responsible student. Move those arbitrary files into a folder on your desktop. Connect with a student with a kind word.
And most of all, take your much needed time to rest and relax!
Have a wonderful break!