Pump the brakes this Spring Break – by Kimber

This evening, I am sitting snuggled up with my dog, watching TV, and for the first time in what feels like a VERY long time, I am not worried about gearing up for a new week of teaching tomorrow. Instead of tomorrow being the dreaded Monday we are all used to, tomorrow is Monday, the first day of my Spring Break! I have been looking forward to this for many weeks now. Something I never realized until I began teaching was how stressful this time of year can be. The teachers are tired, the students are tired, everyone is waiting restlessly for Spring to come and bring nice weather, and in many areas, district wide assessments are in full swing to prepare teachers and students for state testing. To say Spring Break is a necessity for teachers and students would be an understatement. When I was growing up, I remember getting so excited for breaks from school, but was always a little disappointed that we didn’t take a trip or vacation of some sort during every break. Now, as a teacher myself, I realize that we never did that because my mom was TIRED. There is always that saying that there is “no tired like teacher tired” and I believe that is true. My plans for this break include hanging out with my dog, sleeping A LOT, and getting in my daily runs. When I started teaching last November, I was in the midst of finishing my college degree, bouncing from substitute position to substitute position, and was feeling very overwhelmed. I started long term subbing in my classroom the week before Thanksgiving break and that week I got a very bad cold and felt really sick for my first week with my new students. Luckily, I was able to recover the week we were off, but as soon as I returned to work the following week, I was sick again. This time I had severe bronchitis and took about 2 weeks to get better. The following week I came down with the flu and got to use my Christmas break to recover from that. I was feeling so run down, but still was constantly thinking about work and never really resting. Since returning from Christmas break, work has been very hectic. I have had tons of meetings after school, went out of town for a Kindergarten conference, and have been working on getting grades done for the end of our district’s grading period. Although work has been hectic,I have to admit that’s not truly what is keeping me so “busy”. If any of you are anything like me, you’ll find that even when you are not physically in your classroom, your mind is still in your classroom. Since my mom is in education, I find that sometimes all I ever talk about with her is work. Lately, I have even been finding myself thinking about work as I try to drift off to sleep every night. I am a runner and love to get outside and run almost every day of the week, but have been missing those opportunities due to my busy work schedule. When I don’t get out to run off the stress, I have a difficult time shutting my mind off. I am always thinking of different ways to problem solve certain things in my classroom, what could make my room run better or be more efficient, or even just ideas I want to implement in my room next year. My goal this week is to turn my teacher brain off and take care of myself. When you are passionate about your teaching, it can be easy to revolve your entire life around that; especially when you are a new teacher and you’re constantly striving to be better. But it’s important to realize that the most important thing in life is to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you will be too burnt out, stressed, or sick to be the best teacher you can be. This week, I challenge you to focus on yourself, even if that means just taking a few minutes out of your day to do something that makes you truly happy. For me, running helps release stress and gets me feeling like myself again. Try going for a walk, doing yoga, or even simple meditation. Treat yourself to your favorite snack, TV show, or a mani/pedi. Do a little shopping, spend time with the ones you love, and relax. When it’s time to get back to the grind, your mind and body will thank you. I hope all of you take this break to enjoy yourself. Happy relaxing!

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