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After Vacation: 3 Tips to Prepare for the Return from Break

A girl enjoys her break from school

Yeah! A midyear break! You needed some time off from the intensity and nonstop action of being a classroom teacher. But returning to work, and all its responsibilities, after vacation will creep up on you.

One thing is for certain: No matter how you spend your holiday, all midyear breaks end. And if you're not prepared, the first day back from a vacation—especially those that are longer than a week—can be tough. After all, students tend to forget things when they're away from the classroom and it's easy to become an out-of-shape teacher.

But you can fight off a post-vacation slump. Here are three tips to keep in mind when you're returning to school after a well-deserved break.

 

Complete Ongoing Work before the Break.

Before the break begins, finish up any projects and units. Trying to pick up where you left off will likely not be met with enthusiasm: "Um, what was that again?" "I thought we finished this." "I left that notebook at home." I've made the mistake of leaving projects open over a long break countless times, and I won't make it again. Revving students back up with old material is like eating week-old leftovers—nobody wants them! Finish off the class novel, the essay assignment, or the math unit before you head out. Plan celebrations or formal unit endings (tests, quizzes, and presentations) a few days before the break begins in case any kids take off early. Then, after vacation, you'll all be ready to start something new.

Have a Game Plan for When You Return

It's also important to make detailed lesson plans so you know exactly what to do when you return to the classroom. Plan fun and captivating activities that are both academic and recreational to get your students reacquainted with classroom life. You can even use experiences from the vacation to inspire creativity. For instance, try writing a class story about what happens in the building when the school is closed. Or create a math problem that relates to what your students did during their time away. Make whatever you're planning interesting, amusing, and relevant to your students' lives. This will bring them right back into the rhythm of the classroom and get you back into your groove as well.

Get Back into the Swing of Things Early

This final tip has nothing to do with your students; it's all about you. Like many teachers, I get up early. It's a routine I've developed over many years. I shower at night, so in the morning, I wake up, have a glass of water, stretch, do some calisthenics, pack my lunch, eat breakfast, and then head out the door. Whether you have a habit of showering and then drinking a cup of coffee, or going for a quick run around the block, follow that same morning routine for a day or two before your vacation ends. Remind your body and mind of what you need to do, and on that first day back, you'll feel ready and energetic. By setting your alarm on Sunday, the Monday after vacation won't feel like it came out of nowhere.

Getting back into the swing of things can be tough for anyone. But If you follow these tips, some of the hardest days of the school year will become some of the most enjoyable. Now, when is that next vacation?