I’d love to say I was always able to make a seamless transition into summer, but the truth is my mind usually had to catch up to summer. It was usually in reflection mode, trying to make sense of one thing or another. Because summer is way too short to spend fixated on the past, I came up with practical techniques that helped me make an easier transition from the school year to summer break. Maybe a few of them will work for you, too!
The Balloon Trick – This one’s a short meditation exercise. Pretend you are holding a deflated balloon between your fingers. Now, think of something that you need to let go of. Maybe you just found out you’ll be switching grade levels, something you did not anticipate. Maybe your class’ standardized test scores are a bit lower than you hoped. Whatever it is, think about it as you breathe in. Then, blow the thought into your pretend balloon and picture it inflating. Repeat as necessary, with each new thought. Sometimes it also helps to exhale the same thought into the balloon if it’s a stubborn one! Afterwards, tie a knot in your pretend balloon and release it into the air. “Watch” the balloon float away and let your thoughts go, at least for a while!
Remember the Good Times – If you find your mind drifting into school mode, train it to focus on a positive memory of the school year – one that brings a smile to your face when you think of it!
Peace vs Perfection – Aim to be at peace with yourself as a teacher, not to be a “perfect” teacher. Did you make mistakes this year? Sure, but did you learn from those mistakes? So, the parent never gave you credit for your hard work with her child. Did you do your best to help the student? Did he or she improve? Maybe you weren’t acknowledged for something important. Does that mean you didn’t make a positive impact? Be at peace with yourself when you have given it your all.
Spotlight Your Strengths – You’re great at something wonderful. Maybe it’s small group instruction, classroom management, or developing great writers. Whatever it is, appreciate it and know that your special talents make a difference. Too often teachers spend all of their thoughts on what they need to improve upon and forget the contributions they’ve made to students and to the field of education.
Think Happy Thoughts – Finally, to make a smooth transition into summer, focus on things you are grateful for related to this school year. Think of what went well. Think of the teacher who was there for you when you needed a shoulder. Think of the student whose behavior challenged you and who you learned to love …and who is moving on to the next grade level! As a reminder to think happy thoughts, I’m including a Free Happiness Poster for you to print out and enjoy. This poster is a part of my Happiness Quotes Posters set, which can be found in my store, Ford’s Board, on Teachers Pay Teachers. These posters are also great for the classroom and feature quotes that will inspire happiness in students and teachers all year long!