Wednesday, March 30, 2016

They Call it Spring Break for a Reason

When most folks think about spring break, they are probably thinking break in the sense of a respite and a rest. And that's definitely part of what Spring Break is for teachers.

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.


  1. It's so good to sleep in isn't it. Congrats on the new writing project!
    Congrats again on the award. So deserved!

    1. Thanks so much! Sleeping till 9:00 is near-heaven for sure. And, of course, I'm super-excited about that Jacquis Award!

  2. I've experienced spring break both as a teacher and as a stay-at-home parent for three years now, and I can say that anything that breaks routine has its good and bad sides. For me, having everyone at home means that no writing gets done because the other people in my house keep dreaming up projects for me to do. Spring break discharges my batteries. I can't wait for everyone to go back to school/work so I can think again.

    1. I haven't done as much writing as I would have hoped either. My best writing spring breaks have been when I sent one daughter to her dad's and the other to day camp and greedily wrote all the livelong day.

      That's not what I got this year. But it's been a good week all the same. Rejuvenating in other ways.