But each year, when I get to this point in the year, I can't help think about other kinds of break: as in break-downs, broken spirits, rifts and fissures.
As the countdown to spring break begins, you can see it in the bent backs of the educators, drifting through the halls with glazed eyes and a death grip on their coffee cups in those few quiet moments before the chaos we call children descend upon us. There are fissures in our vision, too many things we've tried that didn't work, too many obstacles, too much vitriol instead of fuel. The cracks spread across our souls the way they spread across glass--that little crack in your cell phone screen that slowly takes over the entire view.
So these few days are all about doing what you need to so that you can heal and repair, then come back in swinging for the last few weeks before testing season drops down over us like a plastic dome cutting off the oxygen. You hear different terms for it: filling the well, retreat, vacation. Really, it's self-care, so it's different for everyone. For some, it's a change of venue. For some, it's just sleep or time in the outdoors. For some, it's reading or time on creative pursuits. For some, it's physical activity. For some, it's junk television. For some, it's organizing your cabinets.
For me, it's all these things. Even summer break is no longer long enough to leave me fully recharged, not after twenty years of wear and tear on my teaching muscles. So with just one week to pull it together, I'm trying to do a little bit of all the things that recharge me: I took a short trip to the mountains (family, travel and outdoors). I've been sleeping late (by woman with kids standards, anyway). I did a metric ton of laundry and feel caught up. And I started a new writing project.
And I still have a few more days :-) Maybe I'll come out of this unbroken after all.