Many of us are already basking in the glow of holiday break. Others have only a few more hours/days to go before they join the party. There’s no doubt that you have visits scheduled, family traditions to look forward to, or a sweet vacation peppered with ample amounts of downtime. To your list, add some more rejuvenating things you can do before you get back to the classroom.
I must mention from the onset that not every teacher is part of the conga line of celebration in anticipation of the Christmas break. In fact, some (workaholic) teachers find themselves bored, unsettled or even experiencing depression with all that unstructured free time. Nevertheless, these engagements will still work for you!
Well to start with, pay off the debt of sleep carried forward the entire term/ semester. Every teacher needs this! Waking up at 4.30am every morning is something my aging body can’t take anymore. Many people view sleep as merely a “down time,” when their brains shut off and their bodies rest. People may cut back on sleep, thinking it won’t be a problem, because other responsibilities seem much more important. It is okay to think this way but holidays are meant for relaxation to allow your brain to rest from the strenuous activities of the term. Sleep in and allow yourself to rest!
In addition to this, spend quality time with family and friends. We love our families and spend so much effort trying to make money to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle — but sometimes we forget that giving our kids our time is more important than providing them with cool clothes or the latest technology trends. Even for older kids — who you’d be pretty hard-pressed to get to admit that they want more attention from their parents and siblings — a good solid family hang has serious benefits. Eating meals together, talking about the events of the day, sharing joys and defeats, doing household chores together and spending some evenings popping corn and watching movies are examples of shared activities.
You can also sprinkle in some reads over break that are interesting and inspiring to you. When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article that wasn’t related in any way to the subject you are teaching or the homework handed in? Do your daily reading habits center around tweets, Facebook updates, google docs shared by students or the WhatsApp messages? If you’re one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out. Whether your tastes lie in classical literature, poetry, fashion magazines, biographies, religious texts, young adult books, self-help guides, street lit, or romance novels, there’s something out there to capture your curiosity and imagination. Step away from your computer/phone for a little while, crack open a book, and replenish your soul for a little while.
One other thing you might also want to do during this break is goal setting for the coming year. Take some minutes somewhere within your holiday break to jot down your thoughts about this year in the classroom and goals for teaching in 2018. Break is an opportune time for reflecting and intention-setting for the year ahead, offering a chance to clear our thoughts and start fresh and focused. Why not make the most of it?
All in all, enjoy your holiday to the fullest because you deserve it. There is only a long list of things you can do. The idea is to be more energetic and rejuvenated once the new term/trimester/semester begins. Happy holidays!
The writer is a Language Consultant