As I finish up the second full week of school tomorrow I can't help but reflect on the fact that I miss summer. Summer was filled with relaxing, reading, working out, and time with friends and family. It was time to relax and recharge. It was a time to take care of myself. Then, August hit!
When August arrived, everything shifted. The once quiet campus was filled with energy and excitement: new kids registering, returning families dropping by to say hello, and teachers making their way back into their classrooms. Not only were they focused on getting their classrooms together, but grade level teams were meeting to plan lessons and discuss new ideas for the upcoming year. It was just the beginning of the countless hours that the staff will continue to put in throughout the year.
I was excited when the first day of school finally arrived. Greeting the kids as they walked onto campus, seeing the excitement in their eyes and smiles on their faces validated all the work that we put in to preparing for the first day. Popping into classes the first two days and seeing the students engaged and connected with their teachers and classmates added to the energy. It reminded me about why I love what I do and put in all the hours of work.
After the first days passed, everything else began to hit: deadlines, parents, professional development, site plans, students having meltdowns, scheduling, sub request, CELDT testing, meetings, and more! All of the a sudden the refreshed feeling from summer quickly started to disappear. My days and nights were spent focused on work and the things that rejuvenated me during the summer were pushed aside. I had to stop, reflect, and think about what I was doing. Can I continue?
I can! But I must continue to take care of myself along the way. As I look back over the past couple of weeks I think about our lives as educators. In education our time and energy is most often spent taking care of others. We take care of the kids at our school during the day, and often the hours after work are spent thinking about what we can do to help a specific child or children. Many of us leave school to go home and take care of others in our lives, but what do we do to take care of ourselves?
I realized that in order to do the job that I do, I must put aside time for myself. I know this isn’t something easy to do; it’s something I constantly struggled with last year, but I realized how important it was in order for me to do what I do everyday. The thing is, we can’t wait for the three-day weekend, a week off for the holidays, or even summer vacation to take care of ourselves; it needs to happen all year.
So I challenge you (and myself) to do something for yourself every day. Whether it be running, walking, hitting the gym, time with a friend, picking up a good book…do something! You matter and it's important to take care of yourself.