“We need a break. I am hoping for snow days. I need to recharge. It is a long time from Christmas until Easter – especially this year when Easter is later.”
This was a discussion topic among teachers recently. Sure, we love our jobs, and enjoy teaching and appreciate our school, but we are busy planning lessons, developing extra activities, supervising extra-curricular activities, grading, doing professional reading, and being life-long learners ourselves. It would be nice to have a snow day or two, just to relax, sleep in, read, and recharge ourselves.
So, lacking the snow days and scheduled days off, how can I take care of the teacher? One thing that helps me is finding humor and joy in daily life. Today one of the students studied my dress, then commented, “That doesn’t look like a dress you wear to work in!” I wondered about it, and she replied, “It looks like a church dress.” At least she recognized that teachers work! That is better than the child who told his class, “My dad used to have a job, but now he’s a teacher.” Or the student who told me, when we were talking about jobs and work, “You don’t go to work.” I said, “Oh, yes, I do.” He wondered, “Where do you work?” I answered, “Right here!”
I need to schedule time for things besides school. Go out for brunch with the nephew. Take time to visit with a friend. Make sure I get to the revival meeting services.
I can make my own mini-breaks. Stop grading and go outside for a walk around the nature center. Shut the computer and go across the hall to talk with a fellow-teacher. Leave the schoolwork at school and go home to relax for the evening. Get up a little earlier and walk back the lane. Stop lesson planning and just enjoy that beautiful sunset or that snow squall. Build little treats into the day – reread a special note, savor a gifted chocolate, enjoy those mountain photos from last summer.
A fellow teacher said his students were feeling stressed by the planning and prep work they were doing for an upcoming major event. He was going to stop class early and talk with the students about dealing with stress and the importance of prayer and worship and they would take some time to pray and sing. That hit home for me, too – I need to take time for prayer and worship. Maybe I need to just stop on the lesson plans or the gathering of information or the study, and spend some time in prayer and worship, singing, or meditating on scripture. Actually, it’s not “maybe I need to” but I DO need to.
It looks pretty certain that we will have a day off tomorrow! I carried home a bag full of things to work on – some grading, math lessons to plan, phone calls to make, and some extra things to catch up on… yes, I should have time to catch up on school things, but I am going to intentionally do some extra things. I’ll plan some time to recharge spiritually, do some sewing, read just for fun, go for a walk, shovel some snow, play with the dog… and thank God for an unscheduled day off!
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt