11 ultra-practical ways to disconnect from teaching this summer

It’s been a hack a year. This summer, much more than before, we need to take time to rest, to rest, and to completely disconnect from education. Here are some super-practical ways you can leave the classroom and that teacher’s brain behind, at least for a while.

1. Remove your work email from your phone.

Go ahead, press that delete button. No one will face an emergency in the summer that requires your immediate attention. That little red number and constant swipe up is going to stress you out, so go ahead and disconnect.

2. Set up a distant message.

If you find it strange not to respond to incoming emails, set up a remote message. Don’t forget to say that you’re on summer vacation and checking emails periodically over the next two months. That way, people know that not only are you ignoring them, but it also takes you away from the feeling that you have to respond to every email.

3. Keep your work computer away.

Yes, keep this thing off. Put it away or, better yet, leave it to work. If you really want to check in while the work is in progress, set aside a specific (short!) Time each week when you can catch what you need so that you are not constantly connected to the grind every day.

4. Read a book for fun.

Remember when you just read? Not a pedagogical book or latest article on a new virtual learning platform. You are planning to read aloud in your class without previewing a YA novel or picture book. Just read for you. Go to the library or local bookstore and read that book yourself for fun. You’ll need something to grab the free time you’ve got by not constantly checking your email.

5. Don’t talk about work.

It’s so tempting, we know, but try not to talk about work. You’ve probably spent the school year thinking about students, lesson plans, reports, and family. You’ve talked about it with colleagues, family members and friends. So, this summer, spend your energy talking about all the other things that have been on your mind for the last 10 months. Feeling tempted by a work convo? Remember this guide counselor’s technique: Try to touch the tip of your nose with your index finger the whole time you are talking. It sounds silly, and that’s the main thing — it reminds you to move on.

6. Avoid those you work with.

If you are not a legitimate friend outside of work, take a break from meeting your coworkers, whether in person or in person. You will inevitably suck in conversations about the next year, which will only increase your stress levels. And if people are wondering why you’re avoiding them, just quote the iconic Friends Line: “We were on break!”

7. Put that planner down!

Oh, the teacher planner. A beautiful, empty slate for a new school year. It makes you start thinking about next year. Stop! Put that planner down. It will still be there in a month, and you will (hopefully) be more revived and full of ideas to inspire your kids for that first week.

8. Pick up a hobby.

Use your mind by choosing a hobby that you didn’t have time for during the school year. Ever wanted to learn how to knit? Do it! Wanted to start hiking? Go ahead! Is there a cool coloring book for collecting dust on the bookshelf? Take it down and sharpen those colored pencils. Give yourself time to do something that gives you joy.

9. Avoid office stores.

Yes, we said. Sticky notes and fancy pens can wait until August. You know if you end up in an office store, you’re going to start spending that money on “just this one thing” for your classroom. Take it down, move away, and tell your brain to stop planning that new design for the classroom — at least for now.

10. Turn off the alarm.

If you don’t need to wake up at a certain time every day, go ahead and turn off that alarm, if only for a few weeks. Let your body sleep that much-needed and deserved hour. On a related note, daytime sleep is amazing. Go ahead and give it a try.

11. Don’t think about work.

We know, we know, easier said than done. But the best way to disconnect is to actually do it. But if you see those thoughts in the background, keep them in a journal. That way, you’re acknowledging them and putting them somewhere that doesn’t revolve around your head all day. Write down those bright ideas or concerns about the next school year as they come to you, or devote 5 minutes a day (or 30 minutes a week) to getting those ideas out of your mind and on the page.

How do you plan to disconnect this summer? Would you try any of these tips or have your own tips? Let us know in the comments!

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