For many teachers, summer vacation has started, or is just around the corner. Family time, naps, professional development, travel, catching up on medical and dental appointments, and ~more~ naps are on many of our agendas. As we tackle the items on our to-do lists (that we likely postponed during the school year), our pace can closely resemble that of our typical work week. Add to that the awkward adjustment period of days or even weeks when our internal clocks force us awake at 5:30 each morning, and our transition can feel less than relaxing, delaying the start of our necessary self care.
Non-teachers may think that I'm advocating for undeserved pampering when I mention self care or advocate for a summer version of "the three R's:" Refresh, Renew, and Re-energize. It's the often ignored fourth R component of our jobs, relationships, that make the other three so necessary for teachers.
First, some definitions:
give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.
resume (an activity) after an interruption.
give fresh vitality, enthusiasm, or impetus to.
Teachers form new relationships with students and families every school year, and continue to grow partnerships with fellow colleagues and other friends of education. These relationships form the foundation of a safe and nurturing environment, but they can be the source of stress, worry, and even fear for teachers. Poverty, politics, and performance anxiety can drain teachers of our energy and inspiration, despite the goals we set for ourselves and our students each year. We often put the needs of others before our own, and forget to replenish our own energy reserves, though it's essential that we do just that: our students should get the best that we have to offer, instead of making do with what's left over. As it happens, summer vacation, that traditional time for children, families, exploration and memory making, is also the perfect intervention... for teachers.
Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter, author of First Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul When Life's Just Too Much, shared this infographic over at The Huffington Post, suggesting fifty ways that we can take a break in order to refresh, renew and re-energize ourselves:
This Tuesday, June 2, #TeacherFriends will be chatting about how and why teachers can implement self-care over summer break. Join us and share your suggestions and ideas regarding meditation, hobbies, exercising, eating healthy, and replenishing your teaching spirit. Teachers new to Twitter are also invited to join us, taking baby steps with lots of online support and camaraderie as we tweet, retweet, chat, and share.
Did you notice the hashtag #PRIZES? Chat participants will have the opportunity to put their names in a hat (actually a Google doc) for several prize drawings! Since part of my self-care routine involves crafting and creating, I've decided to offer a patriotic soldered charm to one lucky winner:
Join us (in your jammies, if you like!) Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. Kansas time, for an early bird "practice" chat opportunity. I'll answer any questions you might have (my favorite color is red, I wear a size 9 shoe, and this will be my 20th year teaching kindergarten), and then get our 3 R's chat underway with Debbie Clement (@KweezleQueen) and friends at 8:00 p.m.
See you soon!
See you soon!