The completion of the school year is an emotional and exhausting time of year. Final days with the children, end of the year assessments, and checklist clutter fill our teachers’ days. The pressure is on to get it all completed and still find time to enjoy your last weeks with the children.
With all the pressure and stress the end of the year brings, it is important to remember to take time to reflect and renew for the summer ahead. Many of our early childcare professionals do not get a break in between the end of the year and summer. Many find themselves jumping right into the summer without any breaks. School structures need to be purposeful in creating breaks and natural times to allow teachers to reflect on all they have done that year. Teachers need time clean out and restart to be fresh for the new season.
Some ideas to help teachers reflect and renew:
Find some time to relax and enjoy. Teachers need to find a way to unwind and let it sink in that the school year has completed. For some it could be a weekend, for others it might be a week of down time. Some ideas could be sleeping in, planning to see friends, lunches or dinners out, seeing a movie, taking a hike or walk at the beach, reading a book, plan a spa day or day trip to somewhere of interest…anything that helps you relax and destress.
Please take your owed vacation, even if it is a “staycation.” Anytime away from the workplace will renew your mind, body, and spirit.
Focus on resetting your body during this relax time. Many times with the stress of the end of the year teachers eating and sleeping habits get off track. Really focus on eating things that will nourish your body. Work on renewing your sleep patterns to get your eight hours of sleep each night. People renew their mind, body and spirit in a variety of ways. It could be enhanced through yoga, exercise, prayer, meditation or conversations with family and friends.
Reflect on all you have accomplished with your students and colleagues this year. It could be accreditation or a rating accomplishment. It could be a new curriculum or way you communicate with the families that worked really well. Ask yourself some questions about your year—Did I use my talents and gifts this year for my students and teaching team? Did I help my colleagues, families, and students succeed? Did I express my appreciation for my students and colleagues? Did I model the way throughout the year of best practices for teaching? Did I listen to my internal voice and trust my instincts through teaching? Was I happy this year? Is there anything I am excited about for the summer or new year?
“You are in a profession that recognizes that more than most the need for “time out”. Yet many teachers don’t take advantage of the breaks to them. As a result, they lose their enthusiasm and energy for what they are doing. When opportunities arise, make a point of using them. Take time to plan ahead, and revitalize your teaching and your life.”
Richard Carlson, Ph.D. author of The Don’t Seat Guide for Teachers: Cutting through the Clutter So That Every Day Counts