In Wisconsin, we talk a lot about the weather. This may be due, in part, to the fact that it’s downright frigid, cold, and/or disturbingly chilly for (conservatively) seven months of the year. Block off October through April for likely snow (and as a special bonus, when I was nine years old, it snowed eight inches on May 10th), September and early May for possible winter jacket wear, and viola! Summer arrives and all residents are forbidden from complaining about heat. Ever.
Thankfully, I find myself at the start of that all too brief period when summer is brand spanking new. In the last three days I’ve picnicked with my family, gone kite flying in the park, attended a Sam Beam concert, returned to running after a few weeks break, randomly decided to try yoga last night, cleaned out two closets, and finally had time to finish reading The Handmaid’s Tale (I am in love by the way. Mandatory reading for all progressively minded ladies and the men that love them, I think. I’d never stand for being Ofnick, though I love my husband so, and that’s really the point of the dystopian adventure, yes? A quick bucket of ice water to the face in avoidance of complacency.)
Then, two nights ago, I picked up Hillary Jordan’s Mudbound and I cannot put it down. And you know what? I don’t have to. It’s summer.
But I digress. Over the past few weeks, the Three Teachers have been reflecting on the school year that was. Its trials, tribulations, successes, explorations, and even goodbyes (That’s four links to awesome posts, by the way. Enjoy!) And as we approached the end of the school year, and worked to reflect on so many experiences and experiments of thought, I noticed an underlying current of…weariness. Or rather, some well veiled (crippling) stress and (abject) exhaustion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We love our work. We love our students, we love to read, we love to write, and we love to challenge ourselves and our craft. We love to blog. However, the reality is, it’s hard work and the four of us are tired (I love that Three Teachers Talk is really four teachers. Surprise! More bang for your workshop buck.) Between the four of us we have a wedding to plan, a new baby to attend to, a toddler to wrangle, grandbabies to dote after, and full time employment as teachers, readers, and writers. Any teacher on the planet will tell you – we love what we do, but sweet mother of mercy, can an educator get a nap up in here?
So here is my summer edition of Try it Tuesday:
I want you to rest.
I know it’s contrary to our nature. I know that just four paragraphs ago I detailed all that I’ve crammed into the last three days (It’s like my soul sensed a vacuum created by the absence of school and sucked up anything and everything to fill the sudden void. Panic! Panic!) I know many of us have conventions to prepare for, curriculum to refine, classrooms to organize, final exams to score, and some have relatively beleaguered personal lives that need attention (My daughter asked me this morning if we were going to sit down to eat our toast today or take it in the car. Sigh. This lesson in slowing down brought to you by a three year old.) I also know we are dedicated to a fault. Please see the following…my beautiful English colleagues working on the day after school let out.The summer will be rich with opportunities, no doubt. Some of us will be blessed with opportunities to travel, attend workshops, dig into pedagogical texts, reflect on our craft, and excitedly (because teachers are downright adorkable) plan for next year.
But it can wait. A week? Two? I’m not sure. I’m betting it differs for everyone. But there is a reason we all get vacation at one time or another. Be it a stretch of summer or smaller breaks throughout the year, we all need to rest. In order to be our best selves when we return to the classroom, we all need time to recharge. I have eleven weeks, five of which already have one or more meetings in them. So right now…I’m going to take a few deep breaths and stare. At everything. Or nothing. Could be both.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve this break. Without it, I fear, many of us wouldn’t make it. Not for lack of trying, of course, but teacher burn out is horribly high with time away. And we all know the percentage of the coming weeks that we will (happily) dedicate to continued work as educators will be high anyway. Then, before you know it, we’ll be back at it.So, take a bit of time for you. Catch up on Scandal or check out that Downton Abbey you’ve heard so much about (It’s over, you know, but I won’t tell anyone you’ve never seen it.) Pay someone to cut your lawn. Get in the car and drive with no real destination in mind. Sit next to the pool (Do you have one? Can I come over?) Sit down at a table to eat your breakfast, take more than 27 minutes for lunch, and demand that someone else make you dinner. Stare.
Heck, read a…wait. That suggestion’s a bit loaded.
Oh, alright. Read a book.
I know I can’t stop you and why would I want to try?
I’m right there with you (Did I mention Mudbound is incredible?)
Enjoy! You deserve it.
What are you doing to take a much needed break? Post your plans in the comments below!