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Teacher R&R: Returning to School After a Break

We know going back to work can be a struggle, especially after a break. Whether it be Summer Break, Winter Break, a three-day weekend, an unexpected weather event…. Those extra days of rest are AMAZING.

The struggle appears with the inevitable – going back to work.

I can hear the comments now. Everyone has these feelings at some point about work. You have summers off, what’s the big deal? Don’t you love your students?

(honestly for the last question, if you don’t enjoy working with students, you should definitely rethink what you’re doing)

Some questions and criticism can be valid. But when you’re burnt out, tired, exhausted from the mental load and workload of teaching, it isn’t too often that a break feels adequate before returning to work.

However, there are ways to make it easier to ease back in to work – that don’t have to include working over a break.

Below are some ideas and tips to help make easing back into break easier for you and your students!

  • Plan the bare minimum before the break. This doesn’t mean you need to plan a whole unit, an art project, or jump into a part of your curriculum. Think about about basic activities you can do to get you through day one, and plan it out before leaving for break. Help to relieve your stress over break by not having to take work home and not worrying about what you’ll have to do when you return.
  • Review, review, and review some more! Especially after a longer break such as Winter Break, take time to review skills and concepts that your class was working on before leaving for break. You could use packets, worksheets, games, or group work to get students back into the mode of learning and school.
  • Review expectations like it’s day one. The first day after a break can either see everyone being sleepy, quiet, and slowly getting back into the groove. Or, students are all over the place and have the energy of an energizer bunny. Pretend it’s like the first day of school and review expectations for students, both for in the classroom and around the school.
  • Readjust at your own pace. There will always be teachers and students who can be straight back into the normal day-to-day routine. There will also always be teachers and students who need a readjustment period to get back into the swing of things. Know yourself and your students enough to recognize what pace will work best for your classroom.
  • Give them time to chat. Many of the students have seen each other over break. Sometimes, we need to give into the social nature in the classroom more than the academics. Give your students time to chat and have time together to allow the chattiness to be let out. This can be a relaxed activity and open-ended, or you could find a game (like my Would You Rather….? Game linked here!) to play to allow students to compare answers and chat. Below are some ideas for games you could use (with links!):

The best thing you can do is to know your students and know yourself enough to recognize what’s best for you.

But, planning ahead and giving yourself grace to rest over a break can give yourself the peace of mind you need for when you return back to work.

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