Disconnecting From Daily Routines
by Patricia Robinson, Buchanan Community Schools Superintendent
It’s the middle of summer and soon teachers will begin readying their classroom spaces for the return of students, parents will begin working on purchasing school supplies, and students will once again get the anxious feeling of starting a new school year.
The past few years have shown how important it is for all of us to disconnect from our daily routines so we can recover, re-energize, and ready ourselves for what lies ahead. In a recent article shared on CNBC.com, a survey showed that 54% of those who responded could not disconnect from their work and 73% of the teachers who responded were more likely unable to disconnect from work. There are many benefits of disconnecting including better work-life balance, improved clarity, and efficiency. An American Psychological Association article found that teachers experienced less burnout and more engagement after disconnecting.
Scrolling through social media platforms, I have seen pictures of our students and their families disconnecting while on vacations, participating in summer sports, and attending activities at the library, or around and about the community.
I checked in with our teachers to see how they have been disconnecting and I found our teachers are finding various ways to rejuvenate and recover based on the survey results shown below. Others are completing house projects, working at a migrant camp, enjoying nature, spending time with their children and teaching them life skills, spending time with family, or helping elderly parents or family members.
Some staff gave details of their activities:
“I love going to my parents’ cabin and looking for beach glass and Petoskey stones. Sleeping in is one of my favorite things to do. I also teach Vacation Bible School at my church for one week during the summer and my mom and I have an overnight lock-in with our mid-week and confirmation students from our church. We do lots of things such as tie-dye, games, water games, chalk the sidewalk in the middle of the night, and watch the sun come up.”
“This summer I am doing a research program for teachers at the Kellogg Biological Station, which is a branch of Michigan State University. I am working with a lab that is conducting a Long Term Ecological Research on Cropland. I am conducting my own research, writing curricula, and helping other researchers with their research. This has been a valuable experience because I have met so many new people with a wide range of backgrounds. It will help me when I go back to the classroom in the fall. I will be using my own research in my chemistry classes this year. I also have connections with 40 up-and-coming ecologists and soil scientists, which will help provide my students with real-world applications of chemistry.”
“We enjoy the great outdoors as much as possible! Walking, parks, kayaking, and swimming – the more the better.”
“Usually, I dogsit for some friends in the summer but they gave me a break this year … I miss the dogs. 🙂 Mostly I relax with Charlie and recharge for the next year.”
“In the last ten years that I’ve taught, I’ve always worked extra jobs. I’ve been a waitress, worked at a golf course, taught summer school, and worked for a local florist. This is the first summer I’ve not held a second (or third) job. It’s been wonderful to unwind! However, I find that no matter how much I try to rest, my summers always fill up so quickly. I took on coaching my niece’s softball team and it’s been great, but also extremely time-consuming. My husband and I have completed several projects around our home and I always use summer to catch up on things I put off throughout the school year. (Like Powerwashing the siding, repainting our deck, purging old clothes in our closet, etc.) We’ve gone on two vacations; Myrtle Beach with my in-laws and Gatlinburg with my family. Additionally, I’ve spent time looking up new and fresh ideas for my curriculum as well as searching for new books for my classroom library. Finally, I’ve spent some time assisting my grandparents with tasks and needs around their home. We mow their grass, organize, clean, and help with whatever needs they have. (They are 91 and 87.)”
“This summer we have been busy completing our school bus RV conversion. Just a few more things to finish and then we will be painting it and believe me painting something as big as a school bus is no easy task! After that, we will be traveling and camping in our RV bus to Indiana Beach and a few other places not too far away this year due to the high price of fuel.”
Hooray for our students, families, teachers, and staff who are finding ways to disconnect, recharge, and be ready for an exciting school year.
Go Bucks and enjoy the remainder of your break!