The last day of school is always bittersweet, but this year it is even more bittersweet. We are saying goodbye to students who have been through a lot of changes this year. They’ve faced a global pandemic, a transition to online learning not initiated by them, and been literally in isolation from everything social they’ve ever known. Guess what - you’ve experienced this too! In addition, you’ve had to manage your household in the midst of this, closed down what seems to be an incomplete classroom, and you probably don’t know whether you’ll be starting next year in the classroom or online.
As you prepare to recover from this season of change, take some time to review the following to help you implement some necessary self-care during your time off.
Start a list of the things you want to keep and those you want to change.
Take some time to reflect. There were surely some things that you loved or that were very successful as well as things that you never want to do again. While you may not have had the space to address either ideas during this Spring, you don’t want to forget them and miss opportunities or make the same mistakes again.
Get them out of your brain and onto paper so you can return to them later - when they have to be done or when you feel like doing them. It’s finally time to focus on something else - you!
Reprioritize your needs (with you at the top).
You don’t have to “do school” all of the time now. So do all of those things you would do if you didn’t have to plan, teach, grade, or email everyone. This can be related to personal necessities, like annual eye or physical appointments, or something more fun, like taking walks, gardening, or playing your favorite sport.
A more open summer schedule is an opportunity to do the things you’ve put off. Consider shedding the teacher role and becoming a student in something fun.
Learn something new.
You are more than a teacher. Feel free to become a student in the world - learning about something new that you’ve always had an interest in, even if it doesn’t add any value to your life other than the joy of learning. This could be something related to teacher professional development, but it doesn’t need to be.
Set a minimum time where you are just yourself.
Teaching is a calling, not just a profession, which makes it difficult to step away. To fight exhaustion and burnout, consider trying to step out of the teacher mindset entirely for a short while. Whether that be through a vacation, technology break, or some good fiction, this doesn’t have to last for the entire summer. Even a week or two of total cut-off from the teaching life will help recharge your excitement and energy for fall.
Getting away from computers, email, and your daily school-year habits can be tough, but it will help you reconnect with yourself and your support system. Take the time to nap, sleep in and enjoy the benefits of your freedom. Before you know it, It'll be time to get ready for another meaningful school year!