The Importance of Real Rest

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It’s December, so I know that we are all grading, grading, grading right now. Because I am. But while COVID presents challenges it also presents opportunities: at this moment I’m delivering my final exam to my students across the country, while I’m in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, where I’m on my annual writing group retreat. You can see in this photo how cold it is!

But here’s the thing: I’m not grading the whole time that I’m here. I’m doing what I came to do: devote time to writing, thinking, praying, and resting. And I feel that it is more important than ever for me to do that. When I finish grading all the finals, I’m going to stop working on my teaching until January, and so should you. Here’s why: if you are constantly working on teaching, thinking about teaching, and prepping for teaching, then you never get the mental break necessary for you to be the best teacher you can be. It’s a diminishing returns kind of thing. You need to restore yourself and your energy for the challenging semester ahead.

So please enjoy a good long Christmas break with as little work—and as little guilt about that—as possible. Be present with your family. The work will be there on January 10th, too, and you’ll have plenty of time to get it together because you’ve done all this before. Trust yourself and your training.

I’m putting the finishing touches on my Spring 2021 retreat for teachers. My plan is to post it the Monday after Christmas, so stay tuned!

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