Your Summer Assignment: Practice Self-Care
Learning Lessons from the Field
Today’s Lesson from the Field is a little different from the other posts in this series. While previous installments focused on learning experiences for your students, this post focuses on you. It highlights a sentiment I’ve heard from numerous educators, administrators, coworkers, friends, and family members. I think it will resonate with you as much as it does with me.
The Summer “Adventures” of a Teacher
Every June when I packed up my classroom for the summer, I stuffed my bag with books, curriculum guides, and other resources I needed for the projects I planned on completing over the summer.
It was my time to get ahead!
Somehow, before I knew it, the summer was gone and I felt like I’d spent my two months of “vacation” crossing off all the things on my to-do list that I didn’t get to during the school year. You know, figuring out how to keep all of my students’ work organized, locating the perfect read-aloud for my mini lesson, planning that cross-curricular project that I’d been thinking about all year.
Although many of you will still bring home school projects, I hope you don’t cross everything off of your to-do list. I hope this summer is a little different.
Our world has changed dramatically over the past few months. In addition to the personal changes, the professional changes have been huge. Many of you have taught in the digital space for the first time. You’ve had to learn how to use new tools to support learning in a new environment. You’ve worried about the students who aren’t engaged, wondering where they are and how they’re doing.
Overwhelmed. Unsure. Burnt out. Helpless. Worried. These are the words I hear over and over again as the people in my professional and personal communities share how they’re coping with the pandemic.
The questions about the future are limitless.
What will school look like this fall? Will our students be safe and cared for? Will I meet my students for the first time over a Zoom call? (And personally, will I be able to celebrate my upcoming wedding with my friends and family?)
Honestly, we’re all struggling with the uncertainty of today, tomorrow, next week, month, and year.
As a wise friend told me, “It’s okay to not be okay.” It is normal. But it’s also important to make time to care for yourself this summer.
Here’s Your Summer Assignment
This year, I challenge you to spend some time each day or week just for you.
No. I’m serious. You need this. (So do I.)
Whether it’s yoga, an online dance class, or a good book, take time to engage in an activity that brings you peace, joy, or groundedness—whatever you need for that day.
(Hint: If you’re looking for a fun yoga challenge, check out 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. She’s a great companion to start your day!)
As you care for your mental, emotional, and physical health, make a plan to maintain this practice in the fall. Where does it fit into your routine? How can you share these practices with your students? After all, research shows the value of mindfulness for kids at school.
If you’re like me, it will be hard NOT to work on school projects. That’s okay, do it! Find those projects that reignite your passion for teaching.
For me, it was always those big, elaborate projects that brought me a sense of accomplishment and excitement. For you, it may be taking an online class about authentic assessment, reading a book on encouraging innovation and creativity, or making a planner that is organized and prepared for a new school year.
Whatever it is that revives your teacher-soul, spend time this summer nurturing your love of teaching the same way you spend all year nurturing your students’ love of learning.