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How to Enjoy Your Weekends (even as an educator)

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

Never have I ever spent my entire weekend grading papers, lesson planning, and overthinking interactions from the workweek only to return to work on Monday still exhausted.

Just kidding. I definitely have done that, multiple times and I regret it, A LOT.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend your entire weekend doing work-related tasks. I didn't get reallllly good at this until year four or so, but it definitely changed how I viewed my weekends.

Teaching is a fast-paced environment. One week you're teaching how to identify fractions and the next week you're adding them in word problems. Because our work is so intricate and typically unrealistically paced out, finding time to STOP and evaluate your own instruction can pose a challenge. How are you supposed to know what your scholars need if you have no time to deeply dive into the data and reflect on it? How can you enjoy your "me time" when you are thinking about the crucial conversation you are scheduled to have on Monday with your principal? We carry so much in our minds and it wears down the rest of our bodies leading to exhaustion and irritability.

To protect your peace over the weekend here are the three R's: REFLECT, RELEASE, AND RELAX.

REFLECT 🧠 Reflection allows people to think back on and learn from their experiences, constructing new knowledge and applying that knowledge to new experiences. Daily or weekly reflection can be a powerful tool for educators to self-evaluate and inform future instruction. This can look like journaling what went well this week and setting a small goal for the next week. This can also look like debriefing this week's "happenings" with a trusted coach or colleague. I suggest doing a daily exit ticket for yourself. If you already use exit tickets or closing for your lessons with scholars, this is the perfect time to jot down your thoughts.

RELEASE 🗣 It can be challenging to enjoy your time off when you are holding on to the stress, worries, guilt, or frustration of the work week. Give yourself permission to let go so you can be fully present in your personal life. This can look like a brain dump of everything that stressed you out and tearing it up or crushing it into a ball. Notice how you feel after writing about and releasing it. This can also look like scheduling vent time with someone you trust. Set a timer and get it off your chest!

RELAX 🧖‍♀️Focus on how you feel after releasing the weight of the work week. Engage in activities that bring you joy and truly help you recharge. Self-care looks different for everyone. Remember, teaching is just ONE part of your identity and you CAN have a life outside of teaching. Give yourself permission to disrupt the system by prioritizing yourself. Next week, try to incorporate some "me time" each day even if it's 5-10 minutes of mindful stretching or dancing it out to your favorite song. Small progress is still progress.

Give yourself permission to enjoy your weekend. It’s YOURS!

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