Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Joy of a Work-Free Weekend

We all need a break, and not just from the classroom - we need a break from work, period. Today's advice for joy-filled teaching is to avoid working on the weekends at all costs! 

I'd rather stay a few extra minutes every day and the occasional hour here and there, to get organized and be on top of things, than do school work on a Saturday. Part of the beauty of working at school is that I really have been able to make it one of those actual 9 to 5 jobs - the bell rings on Friday afternoon and I am outtathere, off the clock until Monday morning rolls around.

I'm lucky - it's a very active grade-level, but there are certainly no research papers to grade, and my colleagues like to be on top of things, too. We're not obligated to take on extra-curricular school activities, and the school doesn't stay open much longer than the school-day hours, so you can't become a work-martyr. I could get panicky with not being able to finish things right now, and fill my evenings and weekends with planning sessions, but instead I've opted to adopt the Spanish word ahora. Ahora translates as now, but it's a relative now which can extend for days. It should really translate to sometime in the near future
feet tall student gonna throw shredder create awesome design shavings
this is not me (source)
I like to be prepared, and I worked really hard during my prep days at the beginning of the school year to get organized. I try to mark work as it's completed and keep notes so report card time will be a breeze. I stay a few minutes late to tidy up and get ready for the next day. I even wrote this post and scheduled it on Friday - really a work-free weekend. But if something doesn't quite get finished, I can take care of it ahora.

On the one hand, teaching is definitely a vocational job - I don't only care about my students while they're at school, it's a job built on relationships, after all - but on the other, no one will suffer should I choose to enjoy a Saturday morning coffee and paper at a cafe rather than spend the time sticking happy faces and gold stars onto projects. I don't even like to send home unfinished work, since there are always quiet moments during the day for children to come up to my desk to complete tasks, and if I don't enjoy homework, I can bet they won't, either.   

I leave school work at school as much as possible - that's why it's called school work - and fully enjoy my weekends off so I'm refreshed, recharged and even looking forward to going back into work on Mondays. Now that's joyful.

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