If you are anything like me, you entered this winter break with a mile long “to-do” list of personal and professional tasks you planned to accomplish. My list ranged from writing a project proposal to filming video lessons to lesson planning with a number of other tasks sprinkled in-between.
The grand total of these professional tasks I completed: ZERO. Yes, you heard me ZERO. (Though I did write this post, so I suppose once could argue that my total is ONE....)
Instead of writing my presentation proposal, I decided to watch reruns of Friends. Instead of filming a new video, I decided to take my dog on a long walk to a part of the neighborhood I had yet to explore. Instead of forcing myself to write lesson plans for January (since we sadly, will not be playing ukulele any time soon) I finished my book. I mindlessly scrolled through social media. I took my time chopping vegetables. I slept in late and enjoyed my cup of coffee. I stared out the window. I watched movies I had been wanting to see. I played fetch with my dog. I sat around and did nothing. Literally. AKA-- I took a break.
I loved every minute of it, and for once in my life I don’t feel guilty about not doing the things I intended. Because I know myself well enough to know that I will write my lesson plans. I will finish the project proposal, and I will make the video lessons. When I go back to work. When my break is over.
So, sure one could say I accomplished "nothing," but I will count doing laundry, cleaning my house, listening to an audiobook, playing ukulele, going on a walk, writing thank-you cards, touring the White House, playing with my dog, and the like a whole lot of "something."
It is no secret that teachers are constantly working overtime. We work when we get home from work. We get to work early to prepare for work. We work on weekends. We think about work when we are going to bed. And when we wake up. So why should we feel guilty for taking the 2 week break we so deeply deserve? And I’m not just talking about this “unprecedented,” “dark,” “challenging” year of 2020. I mean all the time. Take your break in 2021, when things are (hopefully) back to normal. Take your break in 2022 when COVID is a thing of the past. Take your break in 2023 and 2024 and beyond. To quote Eliza Hamilton, “Take a break.” You deserve it.
People often give me a hard time for how much time I get ‘off’. “Must be nice!” They say. “TWO WEEKS!? I’m jealous.” I mean, it is nice, but so is coming home from work and not having to do more work. Don’t get me wrong-- I love my job. I love my career. I love that it requires me to work evenings and weekends and mornings and every hour in-between. But I also love that it allows me time to reset and recharge, and I will certainly take full advantage of that. Wouldn’t anyone?
So for now, I will enjoy the last few days of my break, watching Home Alone 2, starting a new book, and enjoying time with my family. Because after all, isn’t that what a break is supposed to be? And what does it mean to do "nothing" anyways?
Happy New Year, my friends! Cheers to vaccines, hugs, and breaks that are actually breaks.
Hi! I am Nicole Guimaraes. I'm a K-2 music teacher in Falls Church City, VA. I've got an amazing husband and a fabulous dog who keep me busy. If I'm not teaching or walking my dog, you can probably find me at the gym!