As of today, it has almost been a full week since summer vacation has started. However, it is the first day that I actually feel like I am on break and am finally settling into it. Every year, it usually takes about 3 solid days for me to sleep and recover from the school year. This year, I think that it is going to take a bit longer.
I am coming off of quite literally the most challenging year of my teaching career. There were so many factors that played into it. I will spare you the details. However, I felt like I needed to spend my energy on being mindful on my own and for myself in order to get through. I count my blessings every day for finding mindfulness practices that very much got me through the toughest situations in my classroom.
So, once again I apologize for not keeping this blog up to date and writing throughout the year as I had promised and hoped. However, with the break to concentrate on what needed my attention the most, I learned so much more than I could have ever imagined. I really look forward to sharing it all with you this summer.
For those of you who are still trying to figure out what this mindfulness thing is and whether or not you should do it in your classroom, let me leave you with this story. Two of the teachers in my building have the 8th grade students write thank you letters to any teachers that they wish to thank before they move on to high school. This year, I received a letter from a student that I had 2 years ago. It was one of the first years that I had incorporated mindfulness and as always I was not sure how the students really were taking it. This particular student was one who was quiet, very to herself, and someone who I really thought hated my class. She struggled in school and in her personal life. The letter she wrote me brought me to tears. Not just a few rolling down my face tears, but outright ugly cry tears. She thanked me for being her teacher, but more importantly for teaching her about mindfulness. She told me that she continues to use what she learned and that mindfulness has helped her with some of the toughest situations in her life, including losing her very dear friend.
After a year of struggles, I received more positive feedback from students about their feelings about mindfulness than ever before. It kind of blew me away. However, I don’t know why it surprises me so much. I know that it has been life changing for me as an adult, a teacher, a mother, and a wife. It has allowed me to work through some of the most challenging moments of life. It makes me so happy that it does the same for others and it may be something that they take with them beyond sixth grade! That is my hope!
This summer, I promise to be mindful and share a lot of the tidbits that I have learned this year. I cannot wait to share with you some of the things that I am working on and that have happened this year. If you are a teacher just starting summer vacation, be mindful that you deserve the break that you are being given. In order to take care of so many, you have to take care of yourself. Enjoy the opportunities to spend the days doing things that you choose (if you are lucky enough to get that time). Enjoy the time to sleep in and stay up a little bit later. Enjoy the time to just sit and be. Your mind, body and soul will thank you!!