It’s been a year.
Now, just to be clear, when I say year I mean about a decade’s worth of exhaustion, emotion, and uncertainty rolled into 180ish days of tough.
And as this crazy school year comes to a close, I reflect on everything we’ve accomplished as educators, not least of which has been literally surviving and I’m happy to report I hear the distant rumble of a slow clap. The steady drumbeat of solidarity, growing ever louder as more and more educators join the chorus of almost disbelieving hands clapping…for each other and for ourselves. We. Did. It.
Let’s be real a moment. Not our usual humble selves, but really, real.
You deserve a standing ovation. You deserve pots banging in the streets. You deserve sweet cards, and smiles, and thank you’s, and sincere gratitude from communities overwhelmed by your sacrifice for their children.
Most of all though? You deserve a break.
I know our realities are as varied as our geographic location and preferred book genre, but our difficulties are often the same. Many have to work more than one job to make ends meet. Some continue to work through vacations to make up for lack of preparation time just to be ready to start all over again next year. We see our own kids less than the children of other people. We watch weekends fly by from behind our computer screens and buried under piles of papers. Stack on top of this the fact that the impossibilities of modern education are often met with either toxic positivity or a “this is what you signed up for” attitude, and we can all be left feeling like we apparently deserve to run on empty.
This isn’t true.
You deserve a break.
Please go back and read that one more time. You deserve to unplug from all things school. You deserve to feed the parts of you that get neglected in the service of others. You deserve so much, but a break you can actually take. Lengthy, short, in snippets here and there, with a good book, a favorite beverage, those you love, or completely on your own, step back. Disable the notifications on your phone (I’ve actually contemplated chucking mine out of a moving vehicle lately) and nap. Often. Stare into the summer sky and know you likely did more this year than you ever would have thought to be possible in this profession…and you made it. Your students are so blessed that you did. Now is the time to ensure you can return to them next year, a more complete and mentally rested person.
So this summer, as we step away from our classrooms or computers, please know that we here at Three Teachers Talk see you.
We see the commitment.
We see the work.
We see the struggles.
And we want you to know you are not alone. Take as many steps back this summer as you responsibility can. Whether it be moments to read fluff or planning work put off until fall, slide your attention back to yourself. We do what we do for our students, but we will in fact be better for them if we work to heal what this year has done to and taken from all of us.
Take a break, dear friends. You deserve it.
And if you hear strange banging noises this summer, it’s me, banging like a loon on a pot to herald all your hard work, because you deserve that too.
How are you taking time for yourself this summer? What message of solidarity do you have for fellow weary educators? Comment below!
Lisa Dennis spends her school days teaching AP Language, English 9, and Virtual Film as Literature while also leading the fearless English Department at Franklin High School, just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she lives with her husband Nick, daughter Ellie, and beagle Scout. She now tries to live life based on the last pieces of advice her dad gave her –
Be kind. Read good books. Feed the birds. Follow Lisa on Twitter @LDennibaum