ATA News

Take care of yourself this summer

In 1986, Ferris Bueller said, “life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” As a then 16-year-old, I didn’t fully appreciate the multi-level meaning of those musings. However, as a much older Gen Xer, I would have to say I can relate extremely well to those words and the sentiment that goes along with them. As I was looking to write my last Off Script for this school year, I was planning to address the multitude of issues we have been facing. But really, it is nothing you do not already know, as you live it daily. 

Instead, I want to write about something different, though it is on a topic that we hear about all the time: teacher wellness. Before you roll your eyes and stop reading, hear me out. The irony is not lost on me when school boards or the minister make comments about the importance of teacher wellness. If it was so important to them, then things would be coming off teachers’ plates. Classroom conditions would improve. Every student would be funded. 

Given that, Ferris was right. Life does move pretty fast. Over the last several weeks, I have had several reminders about the importance of health, friends and family. We tend to take for granted the time we have with each other, and it becomes easier for us to put interactions with loved ones off to another day. As busy as our lives are, we need to stop moving and look around.

My wish for you as we approach summer holidays can also be captured in another less popular, yet equally profound Ferris quote: “The question isn’t ‘what are we going to do,’ the question is ‘what aren’t we going to do?’” 

So, what are we not going to do this summer? Plain and simple: work. As much as we love our profession and want what is best for our students, it means nothing if we ignore the importance of taking care of ourselves. 

Colleagues, this summer, we all must take time for ourselves. I would go so far as to say be selfish about it. Set time aside for family, friends, quiet walks, patios, sunshine and maybe a good book that has nothing to do with professional development. As teachers and school leaders, you give so much to everyone else; now it’s time to focus on you. Be ruthless about your summer down time. You earned it.

We know next year will be challenging, and we will all need to be at our very best. So until then, close that laptop, put the phone on silent and pull a Bueller. ❚

Cartoon image of Jason Schilling
Jason Schilling

ATA President