There have been several occasions over my years of teaching that I’ve sat down in circle with my students after winter or spring break and ask them if they’re happy to be back at school and I’m shocked to get a resounding, “yes!” from many of them. I’m mostly amazed because, in my heart, I’m often feeling like I could use another week or more to show up fully recharged and ready to really get back into teaching and learning.
For me, spring break is nine days total and it always feels desperately short. I usually jump in the car and take a trip for four to five days get home and try desperately to get some projects done that I’d been putting off since my winter holiday as spend the last two days feeling overwhelmed by the impeding “sprint to the finish” in the school year. Needless to say, these types of spring break don’t allow me to show up refreshed afterwards.
This year I spent a few days writing down some ideas prior to my break so I can focus on enjoying myself more and get the most out of April and May when I get back.
Try these four tips and see if you find your break more relaxing:
Take a weekend
Allow yourself at least a day to relax and recoup before staring any big projects or going on big trips. By giving yourself some time to rest, you’ll appreciate your week much more.
Try not to let work creep into your mind
I’ve spent all day outside enjoying a hike with my dogs and a beautiful evening bike ride. The number of times that my disorganized classroom and spring conferences came into my mind? Sixteen. I could have let that ruin my day, but instead I made a plan to spend Thursday morning in my classroom prepping and cleaning. Once I decided that, it was easy to let that thought go later in the day so I could fully enjoy the sunshine.
Work a little each day when you have some time to think
I would love to say that you should put teaching out of your head, but that isn’t life as a teacher. By taking fifteen to twenty minutes on a few occasions to think about what’s to come, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed on Sunday before school begins again.
Do something nice for yourself
When I was hitchhiking in New Zealand many years ago a couple picked me up and listened to me talk for an hour about teaching. That night they took me to dinner and told me how impressed they are with teachers and how important teachers are. There’s no way you can get thanked enough for the endless work you do as an educator, so take yourself out to dinner or treat yourself to a massage. You deserve it.