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Rest Educator, R.E.S.T.

In less than three days educators across the country will enter the world winter vacation, a time set aside for family, fun and relaxation. The fact of the matter is many educators use this time as an opportunity to catch up. As a classroom teacher, I couldn’t wait for winter break. I was thrilled to have a few days to relax with family and friends, which was amazing. My ultimate goal, however, was to catch up on everything I didn’t get to during the first semester - things like cleaning bookshelves, organizing paper work, creating new filing systems or rearranging my classroom to give my students a fresh perspective for the new year. The truth of matter is as a district administrator, I did the same thing. I looked forward to not having new emails, so that I could catch up on the ones I couldn’t really get to because they came in at a rate of at least 10 at a time.

This cycled continued for years, until I really understood the meaning of REST.

The Webster dictionary defines rest as “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.” Interesting! Cease work in order to relax. WOW! Cease is defined as stop, halt, freeze.

How do you cease work? What does it mean to cease work and take some time to rest? I define R.E.S.T. as:

Rest to Rejuvenate – Revitalize, Invigorate, Revive.

Turn off your 5:00 a.m. alarm and relax. Even if it’s for an additional hour. Through rest we rebuild, rewire, revitalize, revive and renew ourselves. Rest is necessary for your own personal survival.

Enjoy your favorite things - Take in a movie or two. Have a cup of coffee with friends. Binge watch some of your favorite shows. Do something for you.

Separate yourself from your work. Disconnect from the work. It is very easy to be consumed by work and not even realize it. Being able to switch off from work serves as a benefit for your own health, sanity and that of your friends and family.

Take a moment to reflect. Reflection is a valuable learning tool. It’s important to find opportunities to reflect on all the things you’ve done well. Celebrate those things. Then think of things that you may have struggled with. Limit this list to no more than five things. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to reflect on our failures and on aspects of our work or personal life that we could have handled better. Only focus on five and think of what happened, then determine a solutions so that you are prepared if it happens again.

Cleaning, rearranging as well as organization are all extremely important to the success of an educator. Without structures and systems, we become frustrated and ultimately ineffective. I would say without R.E.S.T. we fail the structures we put in place, we fail the systems we develop, we fail ourselves as educators.

During this winter break, I say to everyone in the field of education Rest Educators, R.E.S.T.

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