At the end of the school year, I sat in a meeting where someone commented that it had been a dog year. My first thought: "I'm sorry- what?!"
Dog year (noun): one year but it feels like (or should count as) seven years
Ah, a dog year indeed!
I hope that your school year was perfect. That you are busy planning, laminating, and decorating for next year. That you think back on scenes from the year and your heart hurts with longing. Soak up the feelings from a year like that!
Maybe you're like me and this year was a dog year that left you tired and...well...tired. That's okay too! It doesn't mean that you aren't cut out for this. It doesn't mean that you aren't doing important work. Some years are just like that. But what can you do to get yourself ready for another (non-dog) year?
- Turn it off- Turn off your teacher brain. It won't be easy but cut out the pinning, professional developments, and collecting class sets of various supplies. It will all be there in August. In the meantime, float around in the pool, tackle a DYI project you've been eyeing, or read some...dare I day it...fiction. No summer reading reading. No books about how to inspire readers or writers or beginning tennis players. All of these things are fine and good, but give yourself a break. Allow yourself to think about other things. You will find yourself more eager and receptive when you turn back to them later.
- Do it for you- For 187 days, you haven't been able to indulge in an unscheduled potty break without having to announce it to your hallway neighbor. It's summertime- treat yo self! If you've got money to burn (hahahaha!), take a trip or weekend getaway (and invite me...I am tons of fun!). More fiscally conservative options include sleeping in, relaxing in the sunshine of your own backyard, or grab a Groupon for a massage or pedicure. Professionally, we are givers. I bet your classroom isn't the only place where you care for others. Many of you give to your own children, husbands, and friends. The school year is frantic. Find an hour and do something to fill yourself back up so that you can continue to be a cheerful giver.
Like I said, I hope this school year left you fulfilled and rarin' to go! If not, I hope that you'll heed a suggestion or two and invest in yourself this summer. In the meantime, I'm going to petition the Teacher Retirement System to count dog years as seven service years. Keep your fingers crossed!