It's the dream of all teachers to come back feeling energized and recharged after spring break. But what's the best way to do that? Some people find getting ahead on their lesson planning to be relaxing, and others need to get far away from their school (physically and mentally). So whether you're fond of the great outdoors or prefer lounging on the couch, here are some tips for a low-cost, stress-relieving spring break—you deserve it!
Plant a Garden
Every year, I say I'll follow in some of my colleagues' footsteps and plant a garden, and every year I never get around to it. But this year will definitely be the year (knock on wood). I've always wanted to be a woman of the soil, and now is the time. Being outdoors in the warm(ish) New England spring air will be rejuvenating, and, of course, being in nature is a definite mood-booster. Plus, I'll be able to harvest my little crop of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and peppers, which will save me money during the summer.
Visit with Relatives
A little dose of family love can go a long way toward replenishing the energy stores, which is why visiting my 91-year-old father in Pennsylvania is always a must on my spring break itinerary. This World War II veteran walks 14 laps every day at the mall, and I know he has plenty of chores around the house for me to complete—who doesn't like cleaning out the rain gutters every spring? My uncle Mike, aunt Ginny, and cousin Vicky will welcome me to their home in the area with a fabulous home-cooked meal that will warm my heart and soul.
Further reading: How to Take a True Break from Teaching
Plan a Mini High School Reunion
Facebook makes planning get-togethers with old friends a breeze. If you're back home over the break, why not see who else is in town? Whenever I visit my dad, I send out an invite to my high school friends and ask them to meet me at the local sports bar. We've been doing this for the past 10 years now, and it's fun catching up with folks after 40 years!
While our gatherings are much smaller than the big, official reunions, it's easy to talk and catch up. My high school friends have exciting careers and hobbies, and interesting lives, so it's therapeutic to be around people who have known me for so long.
Take a Staycation
My coworker Asha is in Costa Rica, Monica's in Cabo, and Jenna took her son to Disneyland—and they all "wish you were here!" While you may long for a relaxing getaway, your budget might not allow you to explore the world. But that doesn't mean you have to stay home.
A friend and I are going to have a girls' night in the city. I'll find a good price on a hotel, and we'll use a gift certificate I've been hoarding to get massages. Then we'll have dinner at Legal Seafood (yum!) and catch a movie. That's sure to recharge my batteries, and I'll be ready for anything when I return to the classroom.
Read a Good Book
Every single teacher I know complains about not having enough time to read for pleasure during the school year. Spring break is the perfect time to get caught up on all those interesting but unread books. I've got The Underground Railroad, The Mare, The Mothers, and Evicted on my list, and if things go well, I'll read all four before returning to school.
Further Reading: 3 Tips for Teaching Outside
Even if you're tempted to get caught up with school work, planning, and professional development during spring break, I suggest putting those thoughts aside. The end of the year is prime time for burnout, so take the time to take care of yourself. Then after spring break, you'll be left feeling reinvigorated and ready to finish off the year strong.