At the start of my teaching career, I was fortunate to have a perceptive principal who loaned me a book. I don’t remember the title of that book, but the essence was about keeping a balance in your life as a teacher.
Most people who don’t have a teacher in their lives would be surprised to learn that the challenge of keeping the balance drifts into summer breaks. Part of me wanted to frantically catch up with every appointment, home project, and neglected family member that had to be put aside during the busy school year.
Conversely, I also felt pressure to get a head start organizing and preparing for next year’s class and take advantage of professional growth opportunities. Yet another part of me craved to indulge in travel, relaxation, lunches eaten slowly—basically anything that was the opposite of a bell schedule.
This is a natural reaction to having a job that daily tugs at your heart strings, demands oodles of time and energy, and regularly spills over the school day into your early morning, late afternoon, evening, and weekend hours. Along the way, I had some great summers that were personally relaxing and career recharging. Be good to yourself and seek the balance.
Tips for Relaxing and Recharging
- Indulge in a hobby
- Connect with nature
- Rev down and practice being “in the moment.” (No planning lessons in your head while you are enjoying a vacation on a tropical beach.)
- Keep a notepad or journal of the good ideas and inspirations that pop into your head, when you are not successful at being in the moment.
- Read for pleasure and professional development. Here are some ideas for summer reading for teachers.
- Collect basic resources that will help you launch the new school year effectively, such as Evan-Moor’s How To Plan Your School Year and Lesson Plan Books.
- As you would for your students, assess what you need this summer, and work toward your goal of achieving balance.
- Finally, keep in mind that if you have a summer break where demands of career, family, or the unexpected encroach on your time, plan mini-breaks throughout the school year, so that you can still relax and recharge.
Connect with ways that other teachers strive toward a balance in articles such as Edutopia’s “Balancing Work and Life: The Ongoing Challenge for Educators,” by Elena Aguilar.
What are you planning to do this summer to relax and recharge?
Marti Beeck started her career in education as a parent volunteer in her three children’s classrooms. Her teaching experience, including adult school, intervention, and the primary classroom, was inspired by her background in psychology and interest in brain-based learning. Marti currently works in the field of educational publishing as an editor.