Teaching can be a very rewarding and stressful job. Those who have not walked a mile in a teacher’s shoes would simply never understand the 900 plus decisions we must make in the run of an average day.
You have reports to write, assessments to do, a class to teach, social skills to teach, relationships to mend, contact from parents who care too much, trying to contact parents who don’t care at all. It never seems to end and every day seems to bring a new set of challenges. Even if you’ve been in the game for a long time, new and confounding situations constantly present themselves to you. Your problem-solving skills are always being put to the test.
We all know of course that our jobs never stop when we leave school for the day. There’s lesson planning during evenings and weekends. There’s literature on the profession to be read and professional development workshops on weekends. We never have time to write report cards at school with all of the meetings and fires we have to put out! When do they get written? When our kids go to bed and when our non-teaching friends are heading out to enjoy the weekends.
There is a reason teachers have long vacations. They need them to recover from the school year and prepare for the next one. Without those holidays, most teachers probably wouldn’t last in the profession for more than a few years.
Between those holidays though, we all need to escape from the stress of work-life. We need to decompress and try to relax.
What do I do? I like to study insects (that’s right…I’m a nature geek!) and collect them outdoors. I like to go for walks. I like to podcast. I like to play kendama (Japanese skill toy). I like to watch the CW shows, Supergirl, and Flash with my son and daughter. I like to study climate change and what I can do to help fight it. I like chatting with my wife about non-teaching things. I like a nice craft beer. Drinking nice coffee…there are many things that help center me.
We are all individuals and do different things to decompress. We MUST decompress! We need to be happy and healthy so we can be there for the people who need us the most… our students and families.
What do you like to do to decompress from a day in the classroom?
About the Writer:
Kevin O’Shea is a PYP/Nature/Outdoor educator currently based in Beijing, China. He is a father, husband, and avid conservationist. Kevin is an advocate for outdoor play and nature education. He is the host of the long-running Just Japan Podcast and is currently developing the Making Better Teachers Podcast!