I received a text last night from a long time teacher friend of mine. He said,
“For the first time in probably 15 years, I am completely shutting down my brain from school stuff this summer. I just need to recover from the stress and challenge of the last two school years.”
I found this to be both encouraging and admirable. But at the same time, I found it incredibly disheartening. It made me realize just how much this pandemic has taken a toll on our teachers. I think this video from Edutopia really says it all.
It really hit home for me how much teachers have had to shoulder. Not just this year, but much of last school year as well. Many of us parents have taken the day-to-day happenings in the classroom for granted. In my home, we get them up, make them breakfast, and put them on the bus. The only thing that feels a little different these days is that we check to make sure they have their masks on before heading out the door. These teachers have put their all into making sure that our kids minimally feel the disruption that the pandemic has caused. And they did this with an immeasurable amount of strength, courage, grace, and selflessness.
Take Your Moment
So, teachers, as we face the start of summer, there is only one thing you can do to ensure that you are prepared for the start of the next school year – give yourself permission to __________. Whatever it is you need to fill in that blank, give yourself permission to do it. It’s a very simple idea, yet oftentimes incredibly difficult to do.
If you are a teacher, you know that putting yourself first is almost unheard of. You spend almost every waking hour making sure that all of those around you are taken care of. A colleague had a rough day yesterday, so you wake up extra early the next morning so that you can run to the coffee shop and pick her up coffee to ensure their day starts on a better note. A student desperately needs a new pair of shoes, so you send out an all-call to make sure that when the next PE day rolls around, a new pair magically appears in his locker. You heard that a family at your school experienced a loss, so you take it upon yourself to make them dinner to hopefully ease the burden a little bit. You do so much.
Ready to Recharge
This summer, please make YOU the focus. Fill in that blank as YOU see fit. While you find it easy to do for others, please put time, effort, and energy into doing for yourself. You deserve to wear each summer day like a badge of honor, because you have been in the trenches and overcome the obstacles to earn every single one of them. And sometimes, by doing nothing, you are doing everything. Everything that your mind and body need to recharge for the next school year.
If an ounce of guilt seeps in, reflect on all that you have been through and all that you have accomplished to get to that beach chair or porch swing you are sitting on today. And don’t get up. You unequivocally deserve every peaceful moment that you allow yourself to experience. So take the time, soak it up. Give yourself the permission to simply be – whatever that looks like to you.
*Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.