Good morning! Today’s Teaching Tuesday post is all about your well-deserved break… I think, from the outside, it’s easy to think teachers have a cushy job because we get ” so much time off,” but the reality is that we NEED that time. I’d compare it to the way that hours of sleep/rest are regulated for pilots between flights. Sure, the pilot probably could fly back to back trips sometimes, but we wouldn’t want him/her to. We recognize that a pilot needs to give his FULL attention to his work when he is “on duty,” and he needs sufficient time off in order to be at his very best – what we want – when he is flying… The same goes for doctors, nurses, air traffic controllers, etc. I fully believe you can LOVE your job, be good at your job, and still be really excited and really appreciate a break. My friend and former-colleague posted on Facebook Friday in response to some haters asking why teachers even teach if they are only counting down the days until their next break. I thought her response was PERFECT. The whole thing is shared on my Facebook page, but the gist was that teachers DO love what their jobs/students/etc. Sometimes too much, in fact, and our own families, homes, and physical health take a back seat. We NEED breaks in order to “regroup, rest, and recover,” or else we would likely burn out and surely not be at our best in the classroom the rest of the time. I couldn’t agree more, and – based on the likes and comments on FB – many of you feel the same way.
So, in that vein, teachers, I hope your break is EVERYTHING you need it to be… Whether you are already off, or still counting down the final days/hours/minutes, I hope you’ll make the most of this time in the best possible way.
To get you started, here are a few suggestions of things to add to your “Winter Break To Do List” —
1. REST – Get sleep. Go to bed early. Sleep in (if you don’t have kids – do it for all the rest of us!!). Don’t set an alarm. Take naps.
2. Read – Pick a good book – something you’ve been wanting to read “just for fun,” – and make time to simply sit and read it. (I just finished this one and started this one Saturday.)
3. Watch a movie or TV series without simultaneously grading papers, folding laundry, etc. (I’m committed to catching up on This Is Us and – maybe – starting The Crown.)
4. Play with your kids. Just do it. Get down on the floor. Make a mess. Succumb to play dough and glitter and all the things you say “no” to usually.
5. Go on a date with your husband. If possible, get some childcare (maybe while family is in town?) and make a whole day out of it. Heck, spend the night somewhere! Sadly, he probably gets the worst of you during the school year because your so exhausted from giving all your best to your school kids and your real kids. Make him a priority this week. If nothing else, play a board game and drink wine together after the kids go to bed.
6. Cook/Bake – Let’s be real, you probably don’t do a ton of this during the school year. Try a new recipe for dinner. Set the table and eat a real meal there. Or, just bake lots and lots of cookies and make a huge mess of your kitchen. (I made The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls yesterday. They actually turned out just fine, but man did I ace the “make a huge mess” thing.)
7. Have another couple/family over for dinner. Don’t make it fancy – pizza or a frozen lasagna on paper plates is 100% acceptable – but do it. (Stop and send a text invite right now.) You’ll be able to actually enjoy this time knowing you don’t have to get up in the morning for work!
8. Catch up with a girlfriend. Let’s be honest, time with friends is HARD when you are working, but you NEED those friendships. Set up a coffee date, or – at the very least – call a long distance friend just to chat during nap time. This will be as refreshing as a nap – promise.
9. Get some exercise. You don’t have to go crazy here, but it will be good for you to get your heart rate up some – bonus points for getting fresh air. Go for a long walk (invite a friend to join you if you want to “kill two birds with one stone”), try out a new class at the gym, sign-up for a one-week pass at a dance/barre/pilates studio you’ve driven by a million times.
10. Do a project you’ve been putting off. If you’re like me, you still really feel best when you’re getting something done, so this is a great time to check something off your list that you never have time for during the school year – cleaning out a closet, organizing your photos, painting a small room, etc. *Just do go overboard. Aim to get ONE project done – not 15. (Trust me, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way.)
Bonus: Stay in your pajamas for a whole day! Most days, I need to take a shower and get dressed to feel like a human, but one or two days of pajamas from morning to night is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. 😉 My kids love it too!
And one “To DON’T” —
Absolutely, under no circumstances, are you allowed to feel guilty for not working during this time off. This is part of your contract. Time OFF is part of your job, because you NEED IT. If you go back to work unrefreshed in January, you won’t be doing anyone any favors. Seriously.
Speaking of deserving teachers, THANK YOU to all of you who entered yourselves and/or your friends to win my Dream Teacher Gift Basket Give Away. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading all of your comments and learning who you are / what you teach. I love this little community SO SO much, and I wish I could give a gift to every.single.one.of.you.
Alas, there’s only one gift basket this time… But I’m super excited to announce my internet friend and long-time blog reader Sarah Ross-Koves as the WINNER!!!! Sarah teaches high school English and psychology, and she sacrificed grading midterm exams to enter the give away. 😉 Well worth it!
See all the goodies she’s winning (and treat yourself to a few too) here. Plus, come back tomorrow to read my full review of the 2017 Simplified Planner and have all your questions answered about the investment, the quality, and how I use it…
In the meantime, have a restful, refreshing day!!!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab my maternity leave eBook for only $4.99 through Christmas!! (There’s a whole section about making the most of your maternity leave — the ultimate / MUCH-needed “break” from school.)
I love this! I’m only a few days into break and have done a bunch of these. Clearly I’m a pro winter break-er. Definitely catch up on This Is Us, that’s one of my favorite new shows!
I love this list! I can’t believe I’m adding this, but I LOVE vacations to actually catch up on grading. Am I crazy? I usually budget 30 min to 1 hour a day and then I am SO REFRESHED going back to school in January! Nothing like having an empty “to grade” folder. Most of my teacher friends don’t do ANY school work over vacations, but its my favorite time because its no stress! 🙂
I am starting student teaching for secondary ed. social studies in late February and I wanted to let you know that I have been skimming through many of your posts. There are many great pointers and hints that are easing my tensions for this new step in my life! I just wanted to say thanks for posting your advice!