Teachers And Winter Break
I see you teachers, struggling to get report cards out on time. I watch you take on greater and greater responsibilities that keep your students, their parents, staff, and entire campus organized and happy. I watch you continue to pursue perfection in ensuring that you pass on smart students to your other teacher friends at work who will be teaching them next school year.
We in the community who forget to say thanks (or don’t have the opportunity to), would now like to thank you very much. Over the course of the fall and winter portion of the school year you have assisted students to better learn how to learn. You teach them the best way you could think of for them to problem-solve within their own unique style of learning. Most importantly, you stimulate an interest and a curiosity in learning. A job well done!
Now it is your turn to rest and restore.
During the first days of winter break, you would do well to change up your routine to offer yourself a well needed brain-refresh break from the Monday to Friday steady state that has been a part of your life for the past 4-5 months.
Once you are through this initial restorative phase you’ll gain a genuine interest in resuming hobbies and enjoyable seasonal activities.
Keep exercise at the top of your list. Make this a priority. Yoga stretches in the morning, a mid-morning walk, an afternoon bicycle ride, or an early evening in the gym all need to make it onto your to-do list during the holidays.
The fastest way to shift your mind and body into “non-work mode” is through a mini health regimen incorporating daily exercise and healthy foods. With this in place, and with you relaxed and happy, planning your festival-going, drives in the country, or travels to family in other places can all occur from an inner place of calmness and self-assurance. Even planning a road trip can feel restorative and fun when your body has had sufficient time to replenish from the mental and physical demands of your job as an educator for 10 months of the year.
You are due for a well-deserved break that can serve to relax and rejuvenate your body and mind. Check out the Strategies to Try section below for some specific activities that will help get you on the path to a refreshing winter break.
Strategies to Try
We encourage brain-refresh breaks for restless children, but brain-refresh breaks can also promote mental cohesion, calmness and clear thinking in adults. Try these activities that have been shown to improve test performance in school age children. These same activities are used in the field of sports medicine to promote mind and body focus in high school athletes.
Implement Right/Left Brain Activities – Many sports incorporate coordination of the right and left side of the body, and the right and left sides of the brain. Large muscle actions that cross the midline from one side of the body to the other, such as swinging a tennis racket, is an excellent example for whole body learning. Martial arts, swimming, yoga and many gym workout regimes serve as excellent brain-refresh activities and also improve strength and balance.
Improve Precision of Movement- Exercise equipment can help target specific muscles that stabilize to allow precision in the movement of our limbs. Sitting on a dynamic surface, such as an exercise ball, awakens the core muscles to stabilize so that more refined movements of the arms and legs can occur.
Involve Your Senses- Tasting, listening, touching and feeling, smelling and looking; all our senses can be used to calm ourselves down.
Try different sensory strategies yourself. Some can be more effective in certain situations than others. Some are more convenient, others more “fussy”. Plan a whole spa day and notice the plethora of sensory experiences made available to help relax you.
Get Help – Plan for return to work. Realize that for hard to teach students, there is help around the corner. Consider purchasing my book on learning disabilities, called Unique Learner Solutions, available on this web site or through Amazon. The blogs I write are for you, my teacher friends, to help you in your important work.
Whatever you choose, make healthy choices and stay fit for return to school in the New Year. Though we often forget to say thank you, we can’t manage without you!