By Jon Belt
I have been teaching middle school for 6 years now, and have always worked in the summer, and never really took time to focus on “me.” I am a home body, and seem to think that since I enjoy relaxing at home, it counts for “me” time during the year. This realization is completely untrue. Without going into detail, the teacher today is worn out. I will leave it at that, and save this “teacher 10.0” of today for another list.
This is my first summer that I have dedicated to me. Summers off in the past were mainly dedicated to lazy time (cue the remote and the recliner), but this summer is different. Yes, I have spent a lot of time sleeping, and watching “Parks and Recreation” on Netflix, but aside from that I had goals. These goals are dedicated to my future, and becoming a better person physically, philosophically, and academically.
So here is a list that all teachers should strive for during their summer break.
Side note: I am not saying you shouldn’t work in the summer, because I understand some of us do not have a choice. You can follow this list with or without a job.
1. Forget about the classroom for the month of June
This is really hard to do, because the classroom is our livelihood.
This is needed in order to focus on the “me” aspect.
The caveat would be to not make it the whole summer of forgetting. This will add more stress to your upcoming school year. You will be playing catch up all year.
After the fourth of July is a great time to begin thinking what your classroom will look like and what you want from your students.
2. Revisit your personal and professional goals
The first week of summer break is the best time to do this task.
We forget what we strive for in the future during the school year, because our plate is so full. This is a great opportunity to either revisit your goals from the past, or write new ones. These goals should be specific:
What is the goal – Why do you want to accomplish it – How are you going to accomplish it
3. Get Healthy
It is so easy to stop at Little Caesars on the way home after a long day on your feet as a teacher. Unhealthy habits are easy to prolong especially dealing with the stress of a teacher’s everyday life. So, the summer is the perfect platform to stop those unhealthy habits. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s possible.
Start simple, cut out something (fast food, sugary drinks, restaurants). What we put in our bodies determines our stress. This could really help with your bank account as well ~ two birds.
A great app to use to track how your are doing with your goals: Way of Life
4. Get physical
This goes hand in hand with number two. If you are not accustomed to working out, then go for a walk in the morning or evening for 30 minutes. Figure out what you enjoy doing. If you hate running, but enjoy tennis, then be Roger Federer three times a week. The key is trying to develop simple life habits to bring you into the school year.
5. Read Books and Listen to Podcasts
"Leaders are Readers." - Harry S. Truman
I am not the biggest reader so I do have to force myself. Since, I am not the biggest reader, I have decided that two nonfiction books (depending on length) is sufficient for the summer. If you love to read then this should be easy. Chunk it in everyday. Make a goal of 15 pages a day, and usually that turns into more. If you refuse to read, then listen to an audiobook - This counts as reading.
Find two educational podcasts and dedicate 30 minutes a day to listening. This can be done on a run, in a car, laying at the pool, doing the dishes, making the bed, etc.
There are some great ones out there.
Meditation is a massage for your central nervous system. It relaxes your body, and helps you to enjoy the present moment. It is something simple that doesn't need to take hours. A simple five minutes in the morning when you wake up, and five minutes before you go to bed. Focus on your breathing, and the mind numbing effects are amazing. I am still a beginner, and needed some guided meditations to make sure I was doing it right.
The apps I tried were: Calm, and Headspace. They have free guided meditations, but if you want to get even deeper, they have a paid subscription you can purchase.
Jon Belt lives in