Summer Blogging Series 4: 5 Ways to Make Next Year Better

Alright y’all: the Summer Blogging Series continues! TIP NUMBER ONE for how to make next year better was to set your goals each month, but break them down into bite-size chunks. TIP NUMBER TWO was on using timers to knock out tasks more quickly, and stop procrastinating things. And TIP NUMBER THREE was all about simple ways to prep for tomorrow, right now.

And up today: Tip 4!

Teacher Productivity Tip #4: Carve Rest Into Your Day

I don’t know why, but teachers are the very worst at resting. I am no exception to that rule, but I learned this year that when I made a little time for rest during the day, that I actually accomplished more, and I was a more effective (and patient) teacher.

Rest can look differently on different days, so it’s important that you listen to yourself and what you’re craving. The way my schedule worked out this past school year was that my planning time happened first, and then lunch was later in the afternoon. I liked to treat my planning time as a true opportunity to get ahead most of the week.

I save my rest time for my lunch block, just because of the way my schedule was laid out.. I don’t necessarily like to think of this rest time as a reward for the hard work I put in during my planning but if that helps you then go for it! I just know myself, and I know that if I didn’t get enough done on my checklist during planning that I wouldn’t really be able to rest during lunch. Rest is a mental activity as well as a physical one. You can be sitting still in a dark quiet room with relaxing music playing and leave feeling just as frazzled as ever because your to do list is still so long. Your mind has to be clear to really be ‘resting’.

Rest for me this year sometimes meant sitting with my coworkers at lunch and laughing, and other times it meant sitting alone in the quiet and texting my mom about funny things my kids had done that day. One year I had a classroom upstairs by myself while the rest of my team was downstairs, and I would sometimes stay up there during lunch and listen to a podcast. There are times when I needed the mental space to be by myself, while other times the company of others was more rejuvenating. There isn’t a right or wrong way to rest as long as your brain is taking that break from the ‘teaching stuff’ for a few minutes. 

This is what I found rest did for me: It made me a happier teacher in the afternoon. When I would pick up my kids from lunch, we were going into our last academic block of the day before recess. That last stretch of content can feel like such a drag when you have been putting the pedal to the metal all. Day. Long. But when I made the time to take a little mental break it gave me just the spark of energy I needed to have one last engaging lesson of the day. The fact is that the kids are tired, too. No one wants to sit down and do a lesson on regrouping at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So, (at least in my classroom) they are a little off as far as behavior goes, and they are certainly more chatty. But if I met the tired kids as a tired teacher and was irritable and short-tempered and watching the clock for time to be up, the results of what they were going to learn from the lesson were never what I wanted them to be. I’m doing this whole teaching thing so the kids will learn, after all. So finding ways to optimize my teaching ability is important to me!

So, try to find the space in your day to be ‘you’ for a few minutes. You come out on the other side a happier, more patient person, and your kids can only benefit from that. It may look differently than mine-you may have to take that mental break earlier in the day, or you may work through your lunch and then take that rest time near the end of your planning if it makes the most sense for you.

As you move towards your school year next fall, you may need a planner that helps you schedule in that rest time. I have just the one for you! My Teacher To-Do List planner is now in my TPT store! This planner will keep you organized, well-planned, and on top of your goals for this year!

Soak up every second of your summer break, guys. Then bottle that happy teacher up and keep her alive all year long. ❤️

Read Tip # 1 HERE.

Read Tip #2 HERE.

Read Tip #3 HERE.

Keep a look out for Tip 5, the final tip of this series! A new July blog series about “PD In Plain English” will be rolling out after that!

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Stephanie Sutherland