Me: I’ll have the breakfast special.
Server: how would you like your eggs?
Server: bacon, ham, sausage, or turkey sausage?
Me: bacon, very crisp.
Server: white, wheat, rye, sourdough, English Muffin, or blueberry muffin?
Me: ooooh, blueberry muffin.
Server: Anything to drink?
It seems that simply ordering breakfast requires an endless number of decisions.
When doing an internet search on how many decisions a teacher makes each day, the typical number is 1,500. I recently read an article on EdWeek.com that discusses this situation and the fatigue it causes for educators. A related article on the same site gives seven ways to make better decisions. Both pieces provide sound advice on healthy decision-making.
The one thing that really struck me was that nothing I read addressed the need for time to ponder options or process possibilities. When I look at my daily schedule, I am constantly moving from one responsibility to the next. I am on campus at 6:30am, supervising students at 6:45am, actively teaching by 7:25am. I teach 7-8 30 minute classes per day and an after-school performance group that meets twice per week. I’m busy every day, and I’m usually exhausted when I get home.
As I write this, I’m starting the first day of my winter break. It’s not a paid vacation, but it is much needed for my physical and mental health.
What are some things I plan to do during this break?
Turn off the alarm (though I will still wake up about the same time most days).
Stay in my PJs while I drink my coffee, read my meditation, and check the news.
Hang out with my college kids who are home.
Read a few mindless novels.
Go on a hike (or 3).
I will also reflect on this past semester and note what worked, what I will change, and what I want to try next year. One of the reasons that breaks are so important to me is that it is a time when I can slow my pace and really reflect on my teaching.
I need unstructured time to really reflect and process to be creative.
What are you doing with your time during the break to refresh?
Set aside time for your needs (personal and professional), and guard it like it’s non-negotiable!