The Monday after break is always challenging, particularly after spring break. I had a very restorative vacation out of town with my family, maintaining the ‘no work’ boundary the whole time. Yes - not one email was read or sent for a whole week! When I came back home it was suddenly spring! A new season! No more snow! There was so much to do! Yardwork, spring house cleaning, laundry from our trip, food shopping, bills for the rest of the month, vacuuming up the incredible amount of dog hair that had accumulated during the week….and did I mention all the laundry? Sunday was just not enough time to get everything done. I felt like I needed just another day of break… or two days...maybe another week or two...
I woke up on Monday to my obnoxious alarm…I really should change it to something that sounds more pleasant... Getting out of bed was challenging. It was just so early! When I got to work I had to reset my room quickly before the bell rang when the kids would come swooshing in. I probably should have done this before I left for break...RING went the bell and then they came down the hallway. The scene reminded me of when Robin Williams shouts “It’s a STAMPEDE” in Jumanji. They were all chatting loudly, laughing and shrieking with their friends about their week away from school and lamenting about the day ahead. One by one they came into my room for homeroom, surprisingly quiet. Despite the energy in the hallway everyone seemed to be tired.
I was tired too and just like them, wished I was still on vacation. I noticed that my energy was low and as a middle school teacher, that can be a death sentence. So, I made a choice - I smiled. I didn’t let my sleepy eyes control my mood and changed it with a simple gesture. I met each student at the door with a smile, and then all (...well...almost all…) smiled too. It’s pretty awesome how contagious a smile can be.
Later that day some of the teachers gleefully shouted “9 more Mondays!” and “only 43 days left!” I didn’t celebrate with them, instead I just smiled. Yes, coming back to work after break is hard, but you are in charge of how you decide to spend your time. You can count down the days until the rest of the school year, or smile and enjoy the ride. Some days you probably want to do both. Your students will know the difference. As teachers we get to work with kids everyday, and while it would be great to win the lottery and not have to work ever again, we have the most important job in the world. Choose to smile.