Charging Stations

Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation

For most educators, the very words “summer break” elicit thoughts of calm water, deep breaths, and warm vibes.  Time slows down during summer breaks.  Long, hot days spent reading by the pool while children splash and sweet tea causes condensation to drip down the side of your glass.  Or maybe tackling that home-improvement project that has been taking up space in your laundry room for the last nine months.  Maybe it is spending time with family, not just minutes and hours, but time – real time, laughing, reconnecting, enjoying just being with those you love.  

Every educator understands the need for these breaks.  It’s not just “time off” – it’s really about “TIME ON”.   Time on to get yourself ready for the new lives you will forever impact, time on to inspire self-creativity that will inevitably flow and flourish, time on to allow yourself to heal from whatever personal wounds you may have experienced.  

Because as educators, we rarely if ever experience true time off – there is the mountain of grading on our kitchen tables each evening.  There are the abundance of nachos and slices of pizza consumed in gyms and arenas just so we can support those who may not have another adult in the stands.  There is the personal financial investment in our students to make sure they are set up for success despite whatever challenges they come with to us.  Time off doesn’t exist as an educator.  So how can we ensure that we are the best version of ourselves in order to foster and cultivate the best version of others?  Charging stations.  

Charge Your Peers – Nothing feels better than to be recognized for your hard work.  That recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of “Teacher of the Year” or even “Teacher of the Week” – sometimes the greatest feeling of success comes from recognition from your students as simply being there when they needed you.  Return that sense of positive power by letting your co-workers know that they were a part of your professional success.  Creating a workplace of gratitude and graciousness allows for an increased sense of communal respect. And who doesn’t want a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T in their lives?

Charge Your Community – Community service is not just about doing good; it’s about making better.  As educators, we often see the results of generational struggle sitting before us each day.  And as much as we may want to see change in our communities, it is not until that change is set into motion that the momentum can build.  Spend a morning packing food pantry bags at your local church – you might just get a glimpse into the lives of one of your struggling learners.  Spend a few hours at your local non-profit agency – your might better understand the experiences of that stressed student.  Or spend a few days assisting at your local nursing home – you may find that although times change, human interaction remains the same.  

Charge Yourself – Whether cooking or crafts, reading or rafting, immerse yourself in your hobbies.  Having hobbies can lower anxiety, lower your stress level, and help cope with depression because hobbies help you form a life outside of work. Unlike your professional activities, you don’t have the added stress of attending on time to participate, working within the confines of a group, or completing a task by a specific time. Hobbies can also increase your interaction with people and the value you can bring to each other. Participating in hobbies with others can sometimes make the hobby more enjoyable because you are doing something you enjoy with people who have the same love and passion for the activity that you have. 

Remember, although we may want to disconnect from our worlds this summer, the only way to fully recharge is to plug in.  Plug into our peers, plug into our communities, and plug into ourselves.  Let our connections build our batteries and be our charging stations.  

Leave a Comment