Hello, friends! Happy Sunday! I hope your week is off to a great start and you’re getting ready to tackle the week ahead. Last Friday, I did something I rarely do as a teacher – I took a day off. Yes, I took a mental health day, as we sometimes call the days that we take off when no one is sick, no one has a doctor appointment, we’re not going to a conference/workshop/meeting. I just took a day off. When I was a first and second-year teacher, I NEVER took a day off, partly because I was scared to look weak or undedicated to my career, but also because I didn’t want to leave my classroom in the hands of a stranger – check out this month’s Mystery Post for more information about my control freak nature 😀 After my husband and I had kids, my days off were only to be used for maternity leave, sick kids, or doctor appointments for our girls. So … I rarely take a day off, but sometimes it’s needed. Here’s a fun glimpse into why I took a day off, didn’t feel guilty about it, and why teachers must practice self-care to be the best we can be for our students.
If you give a teacher a day off … she’ll probably sleep in
Yes, I slept in later on Friday morning. That’s right. I slept in LATER – not late by any means because I still had to get my daughters (and husband!) up and ready for school. Friday was Grandparents Day at my daughters’ school and my mom always delivers the chapel message for the day, so I always at least go to that service 🙂 A downside of teaching in a different town than where we live is that I rarely get to take my daughters to school. I have to leave the house at the same time my daughters and husband do in order to get to work at the required time. So, in addition to sleeping in a bit on Friday, I got to take my daughters to school. It may seem like such a small thing, but it’s one of those “mom” things that I love and do as much as I can because they won’t always want me to do that!
If you let a teacher sleep in … she’ll probably be a tad more rested
I saw a meme the other day on Pinterest that said something along the lines of … teachers make more minute-by-minute decisions throughout the day than a brain surgeon, which is why we’re so tired at the end of the day. I don’t know about the accuracy of this claim, but I agree with it. As a teacher, I make TONS of decisions throughout the day that I really don’t even think about. Let me explain, as teachers, we have to make tons of decisions in our lesson plans, on the fly, etc., and we do this every day … so we may not recognize the sheer amount of thoughts, plans, and things we do on a daily basis. Even though some people outside the realm of education haven’t (and probably never will) realize, we have a pretty darn important job. Inspiring, encouraging, motivating, and shaping the future – no big deal, right? 😉
If you let a teacher get some rest … she’ll probably be more present with her family
I don’t know about you, but I suffer from some pretty major “mom guilt” from time to time. My daughters are both in school and participate in almost a dozen afterschool activities between them, and I volunteer/participate as much as I possibly can while balancing my teaching career, the online college classes that I teach, my blog, my book, speaking engagements, conferences, keeping up with homework, and keeping our house in some semblance of order (it’s a wreck most of the time!). So, when I have a day, or a few hours to chill and be Mommy instead of Mrs. Petty, it helps everyone. Friday was Homecoming for my high school and I was able to walk with my daughters’ school float in the Homecoming Parade – super fun and I got some exercise! Happy Bethany!
I mentioned earlier that Friday was Grandparents Day at my daughters’ school. My mom still teaches at their school and isn’t able to have a sub in her class on this super fun day. My dad always comes to Grandparents Day and has an absolute ball hanging out with his two favorite girls (my sister and I have been demoted) during the day. My father-in-law wasn’t able to attend the Grandparents Day festivities this year, and we lost my mother-in-law to flu complications last year. Therefore, I spent the day with my daughters as their surrogate grandparent, alternating classes with my dad so both kids could have fun with Papa, but not be left alone when Papa was with the other kid.
I LOVED spending time with my daughters in their classrooms, watching them beam with pride as they showed me their classroom, what they’re learning, projects they’ve made, etc.
If a teacher is more present with her family … she’ll probably be recharged in her classroom
This is extremely true. When I push pause on my busy life from time to time and focus on being more present with my family, I feel like I’m floating on my back in the ocean. instead of trying to tread water. When I feel like I have a good grasp on my family and personal life, I’m a better teacher. Taking a day off helps me (temporarily at least) feel like my ducks are all in a row. When my ducks are in a row, I feel mentally more prepared to take on the noble challenges that come with being a teacher – the best job in the world.
So … if you give a teacher a day off … she’ll be more recharged, focused, and excited to be the best teacher she can be for her students. Take a day off, teacher friends. You deserve it, and so do your students.