Mental Break...Not Breakdown

Posted by Jarrod Jones on 12/5/2019 4:00:00 PM

Audio Podcast

Three weeks. 

In three weeks, I will be able to take a mental break. It’s called winter break because of the season, but it’s definitely not the reason for the break. It is indeed in existence so that teachers and students can take a mental break; in my opinion.

This doesn’t mean that we are on the verge of having a mental breakdown, but without the mental break--well, who knows?

Teaching is a tough job. But learning isn’t always that easy either. For some, it may come a little easier than for others, but either way, it can take a toll on the mental capacity. Just as putting stress and pressure on our bodies with extended physical toll and exercise can break our bodies down, the daily toll of teaching and learning can do the same with our minds. 

We rest our bodies every night when we are asleep (although I sometimes am wrestling with thoughts and ideas while asleep, equaling a poor night’s sleep), and our bodies are designed to crave that resting time. The same is true with our minds. When we are sleeping and resting our bodies, our minds are usually still working. So we have to make a conscious effort to stop our minds from moving 100 miles per hour. That is so difficult to do when you have to grade papers, create lesson plans, answer emails, construct emails, make phone calls, and teach lessons to 100+ students five days a week. And the majority of that work is done after you get off work while you’re trying to complete the numerous tasks associated with your household affairs and your family.

So, two weeks of not doing any of those required and necessary educational tasks is a mental break. Even if you still have to take care of those important household and family needs. 

In my 12+ years of teaching, I’ve spent many winter breaks grading papers and getting things ready for the return to school in January. And while it is important to be prepared for the next semester, if I go back to school with my mind still fried, I will be no good to the students. So, I need to learn from my past blunders concerning this matter.

Yes, this is a break where students and teachers should have fun and spend valuable time with their family and friends, but it is also an opportunity to rest physically and mentally while recharging for the second part of the school year. So, I am looking forward to that time in three weeks...and counting.

Have a wonderful holiday season in whatever way you celebrate!