Hello fellow educators!
Sooooooo, I happen to know for a fact that some of you just turned in your fall semester grades. And that you feel guilty about it because you missed the deadline. And that you are exhausted to the core. And that you are already thinking about next semester.
STOP. RIGHT. NOW. It is absolutely imperative that you throw all of that aside and do absolutely nothing related to your job as an educator for at least SEVEN FULL days, more if possible. And by “possible” I mean, I don’t care if that leaves you no time to prep your syllabi for next semester. If you have any experience teaching at all, you absolutely can do that, even for a new class, and have it ready in three hours. Just reserve the right to revise it! Put in the main readings (which I know you have already had to select, given the bookstore craziness) and the assignments and trust it to the wind. You can get back to it later.
I know that if you are still reading this, it means that you really don’t believe me and aren’t really going to do what I’m saying you must do here. Why? Because you think that you should do this while you still have momentum? NO. NO. NO. You are exhausted. You do not have any momentum right now, because the most recent COVID fall semester took every last little bit of that away from you and you are spent. Please listen to me. Stop. Right now. Stop working, stop thinking, and REST.
Still don’t believe me? Then allow me to challenge you some more. Some of you just worked either on Christmas or the day after to get those papers graded. That was already criminal enough!! What the actual *&$#*!* ???? That already means that this semester hit you so hard that you can’t see straight and realize how wrong that is, that any job should demand that from you. Yes, you love your students. Yes, that means you are committed. Those are all good things. But this means ENOUGH ALREADY! Give me SEVEN FULL DAYS of undivided attention to PLAY and I’ll give you an educator who might actually not dread going back into the classroom on January whatever-the-day-is-for-you.
Still not convinced? Need spiritual reasons? Well, first let me ask you, how many Sabbath days did you work this semester? Several? You’ve already disobeyed God by doing that. Not to mention, worked when you should have been resting and restoring yourself. Now you need to repent and rest for Pete’s sake. And by “Pete” I mean your students. Yes, THEY need you to rest! They don’t need you to perfect your freaking syllabus. They need you to be your best self!! And do you really think you can offer your best self right now? Let me tell you something: you can’t.
Still coming up with excuses? Bargaining with yourself for one or two days, but not seven? How about a medical reason? I don’t need to think to the literally hundreds of studies that show that STRESS KILLS. Maybe not today, but you are completely destroying your immune system. And NO, that doesn’t mean you can say “but I’m working now so I have less to do later.” Not if you worked right before, during, and after Christmas. NOPE.
When was the last time you read a novel because you wanted to? That has an amazingly restorative effect on your soul. What about an inspirational book that has nothing to do with your discipline? Also has a restorative effect. Right now I’m reading a very simple book called What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better, by Dan Baker. Baker has a PhD, but there is literally no actual science in this book. But that’s fine because he’s SO RIGHT about so many things, and he has the experience with actual people to prove it. I’m loving this book right now because it is reminding me that it is my response to things that determines my experience. I’ve known this for a very long time. But if you don’t take the time to remember it, you will forget it. And guess what? You’ve been working too hard to remember this. So PLEASE STOP WORKING RIGHT NOW.
When you are ready to think about next semester, don’t forget to take a few days in a pre-school retreat. If you want me to guide you through one, you can contact me through my website OR do the self-guided retreat right here. I’m here for you—-mostly to remind you to rest and re-think how much you work BECAUSE YOUR STUDENTS NEED YOU.
As always, Keep Calm and Teach On (LATER).