Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Teacher Down Time and Christmas Break
At the start of every December, I start looking forward to Christmas break.
I make a list.
I check it more than twice.
Two whole weeks of freedom? I can do so much with that! I can reorganize my art supplies, file papers, change the seating arrangement, make new name tags because the others are grimy and gross. I can plan, organize my library, laminate, copy for the weeks ahead, get caught up on any correcting, change my classroom decorations. The list goes on and on.
The reality of the matter is that maybe one or two of those get done because Christmas break is a BREAK. A time to breathe, relax, and recover.
My first three years teaching, I would spend every Saturday in the classroom. I would spend days off in the classroom. I would spend Christmas break in the classroom. But the funny thing was, the more time I spent in the classroom, I still never felt like I had it all down pat and running smoothly.
Ironically enough, it was when I started spending less time in the classroom, and more time on "life" that I really felt that I was being most effective and efficient. Don't get me wrong, there are still times in the year ( usually right before report cards) when I turn into a stress monster that wants to "Scarlet O'Hara" it all into tomorrow ( or oblivion), but I try to maintain a balance.
I always tell my students, you have two hours of homework, and I work after school for two hours. Same rule applies to breaks. Did I give you homework over Christmas break? No? So... Guess what
So on Saturday, the first official day of break, when I saw I had three emails from students asking why I haven't posted their summative assessments in PowerSchool yet. I lovingly wished them all a very Merry Christmas, and told them grades would be posted when we return...and then I turned off email notifications. And I don't feel [overly] guilty about it. During the school day we answer hundreds of demands on our time, patience, and thinking from students, parents, and coworkers. It's OKAY to use our break/vacation time to recharge. Mental well being is just as important as physical well being.
Here's wishing all teachers a marvelous winter/Christmas break and a healthy happy 2016!