Things Every Teacher Should Do on Winter Break
“The key to finding the ideas you need may be as simple as taking time to take care of yourself.” -Stacey Stratton, Wellness Coach
Forget about generating new classroom ideas. Ramp up your energy and enthusiasm for teaching by taking a rest from your never-ending teaching responsibilities. Go ahead; ENJOY winter break.
Doing so will rejuvenate your spirits and eagerness for the classroom and your students. For most teachers, winter (or Christmas) break is a measly ten days. Before you are ready, the holidays will slip by. January 3rd will be here, and you will be back in school.
My husband calls the time between President’s Day in late February to Spring Break in mid-April “the long slog”. The long slog has no holidays or school breaks, and it can take a toll on your enthusiasm for teaching, especially with students getting restless, too.
Teaching is demanding work. Our hats are off to you. During the break, you might be tempted to figure out lesson plans, prep do now activities, gather materials, or read a professional development book. But a teacher’s mental and emotional health benefits from getting a serious break halfway through the school year.
For the benefit of your students, be wise and make winter break plans to relax and rejuvenate. It will put you on top of your teaching game.
Let Go and Renew Over the Holidays
Every person is different. And you know yourself best. Do things that rejuvenate you.
Put a School Plan into Action
Take care of necessary school work by planning ahead. An experienced middle-school teacher suggests the following things to keep your schoolwork to a minimum during the holiday break.
- The last few days before school gets out, prep lesson plans and gather lesson materials for the first couple of days in January.
- Reduce your grading load with appropriate planning. Do not give a test or have a project due right before school gets out.
- Only do school work (including looking at your school email) the day after school is out and the day before school resumes.
Set Daily Me Time Activities
During the break, renew with deliberately chosen me-time activities.
- Go outside every day regardless of the weather. Take in the sounds, smell, and feel of life humming all around you.
- Slow down and enjoy the decorations, lights, smells, and sounds of the season. (Go ahead. Wrap up in a cozy blanket with a warm cup of Wassail. And enjoy the soft lights on your Christmas tree.)
- Sleep. (Take a daily 20- minute power nap. Come on. You can’t nap when school is in session.)
- Read a book for PLEASURE.
- Soak in a warm tub.
- Laugh every day. (Watch a sitcom. Check out silly memes. Read the comics.) Laughter is the best medicine. For some of us, laughter comes instinctively. For others, we have to cognitively look for it.
Reconnect with your inner you, friends, family, and the world.
- Move. Get your body moving. Walk, swim, bike, shop. The natural endorphins feel so good.
- Ponder goals; Personal and professional. Keep it light. Thinking about what truly makes you happy and adding or deleting one thing from your life is empowering.
- Connect with your spiritual side. Read scriptures. Sing songs. Go to places that connect you with something bigger than yourself. (God. Mother Earth. Space.)
- Enjoy time with family and friends. Play games, sing songs, talk, roast chestnuts. Nurture relationships.
- Spend one-on-one time with your spouse, siblings, parents, children, or nieces and nephews.
- Watch sports or catch up on the latest TV shows or movies.
Sometimes it is nice to be spontaneous and enjoy what comes. But to really benefit from the break, schedule a few outings that speak to your soul.
- Take day trips to places that help you slow down and renew. Shopping, nature walks, musical performances, cemeteries, ice skating, skiing, theater.
- Get a pedicure, manicure, or massage. (You deal with a classroom of children every day. You deserve a little pampering.)
- Do nothing. As crazy as it sounds, schedule time to do nothing. At the end of the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne, Christopher Robin says, “What I like doing best is nothing.” He explains, “It means, just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear and not bothering.”
Teacher Power Cares
Our world and our children are better with you at your best in the classroom. Over the break, do not bother about school. Instead, renew, refresh, and rejuvenate.
And when you are ready to head back to the classroom, Teacher Power is here to power you, so you can empower students. Discover the power of Teacher Power Energy Drinks today.
By: Jae O. Haroldsen
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Interview 2021: Kathy Corley Murray, 30+ years teaching middle school and college.
Stratton, Stacey. “4 ‘Unproductive’ Habits That Make You More Productive.” Entreprenuer. 2021. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/376925