A lot of teachers are addicted to the stress, the hustle and bustle of a full school year in motion. After a few weeks of summer, I think I'll guiltily raise my hand and join that group. Some of you are awesome at just chilling. Now I'm not judging those of you who can go through an entire season of "How I Met Your Mother" in a single summer day (in fact, I might join you) but I think that there are indeed ways to maximize your time in the summer and there are most definitely ways to continue the burnout (if that is what you so choose...or all you know and understand.)
1. Me Time
This is exactly what it sounds like. I have taken time this summer to start these relaxing breathing exercises. I can actually feel myself calming down and hope to make it common practice during the school year as well. I have also been exercising a ton more. Teaching is such a service profession and we are always in the presence of others. I find that it's important (and very difficult for me to remember to do) to take some time out of caring for everyone else and care for myself!
2. To Do List
This is where all of those "How I Met Your Mother" DVDs come in. There is a whole long list of things that we don't do during the regular school year because of time constrictions. Now some of these things include cleaning and errands, but some of them are a lot more fun than that. Reconnecting with old friends, writing letters to family members who are far away, shopping for fun, outdoor cookouts and park days, reading for pleasure, taking short trips...you name it. This are things that we tend to neglect but are the kinds of things that can be really fulfilling and, better yet, rejuvenating.
Have you committed yourself to something ELSE besides teaching (or some other version of teaching) that takes JUST AS MUCH effort, time, and dedication as your regular school year? Burnout is a REAL thing and transferring your crazy work ethic to something else will not only make you even more exhausted, but it will actually make you less effective at the beginning of our next long school year ahead.
2. Full Speed Ahead
This is when you don't actually realize that you've been given a break at all. You spend your days writing lesson plans, creating/tweaking activities that didn't go well this year, and buying pretty things to enhance your classroom/students (and not yourself). We only get a couple of months. For this I suggest scheduling and moderation. Absolutely we should self reflect and continue to grow as professionals, but we can't continue to grow if we're driving ourselves into the ground. Teaching is a part of life, life is not teaching. (I know, I forget too.)