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Leave the Bag at School This Holiday Break

Five Reasons Why Teachers Must Recharge over Winter Break

By Melody Johnson, CEO and Founder of Loving Literacy

Reading the title says it all. You must be thinking, “Are you kidding me? Honey, I got hundreds of things to do!”

I get it. You are coming to the end of the semester.

There is the expectation to attend an IEP, EIP, and 504 meetings before the winter break. You also have to finish those lesson plans with the team, the observation with your principal, and collecting data from your class.

Oh, and then you have that holiday craft or assignment to do with the class.

As a new or veteran teacher, you have experienced, what is called “Survival Mode.”

You might feel like you are barely holding on by a string and you are just counting down the days with your lovely students. You hope that you can get by on the four hours of sleep so you can accomplish the tasks being asked of you — even though you are super organized and got help.

But let’s be real. Many times, as teachers, the only time we truly have time to catch up is on those breaks.

With the recent events, let’s think, will it benefit you, mentally to do work over the break?

Below are five reasons why you need to recharge and leave the school bag at school.

1) You Don’t Want to Burnout

This is real. This is exactly what happened to me often as a teacher. This is one of the top reasons why people leave this admirable job. It becomes overwhelming, it becomes saturated with tests, assessments, lesson plans, gathering of materials, gathering of data — that it is too much.

Unfortunately, burnout can also cause serious health issues (panic attacks, other physical and mental health issues) and even the ability to do tasks efficiently — or correctly.

Leave the bag at home. Do what you can and prioritize what you can do in the meantime.

2) You Don’t Want to Lose Your Joy

While you are so focused on all of these things, you might get to the point where you lose the joy in teaching. You might be so focused on what you need to finish, you might lose out on the fun memories that you create daily with your co-workers and students.

Keep your joy by keeping your work at work.

Losing your joy in teaching can look like irritability, frequently becoming upset, rarely smiling, and finding it difficult to express joy in the small moments.

3) You Don’t Want to Drift Through Life

You can become so engrossed in the work itself, that you miss the fleeting memories you want to remember. The memories that you can no longer make. By drifting, you also take the focus off yourself, which we all need self-care.

Create those boundaries for yourself now so you do not get bogged down with the responsibilities of work. Learn to say yes to help and no to taking on additional tasks that you simply cannot do.

4) You Don’t Want to Create Negative Habits

The habits can be neglecting yourself. Either mentally or physically. If you neglect yourself, you cannot care efficiently for your students or even take off the tasks needed to help your students.

5) You deserve to have fun. Yep. I repeat: YOU DESERVE IT.

You deserve it because you sacrifice all the time to give to the kids when they need it, sometimes in situations that no one sees from the outside.

You deserve it because of the times you missed out on family events because you had work to do or data to analyze or a lesson plan to complete.

You deserve it for all the times you would come early or stay late to help with a project at school.

You deserve it because you help motivate the students to be model citizens and to have confidence in themselves. At the same time, you have to seem “put together” even when you feel like falling apart.

The work will always be present. The work will always be there. There will always be assessments, lessons, and collaborations.

But there is only one you.

You deserve to have a good time and to be refreshed so you can be ready to work after the holidays.


Burning out is a real thing. It can happen to the best of teachers. From being so focused, you can lose your joy of teaching to kids. This is a trait that can be seen in others that are burnt out from a heavy workload. When you become so focused on work, it can be hard to see past the task itself to what really matters in your life.

When you neglect this, you neglect yourself.

With all the sacrifices that you made, you deserve to enjoy the holiday and time with your family and friends.

Go watch that extra movie with your family, friends, and rejuvenate. Use those gifts the parents gave to you, sleep in for a day, hang out with a friend, and enjoy your life. Yes, and have that extra cookie!

Melody Johnson is the CEO and Founder of Loving Literacy, a company that eliminates frustration for parents, boost the self-confidence and focus for struggling readers in grades K-2. Born a New Yorker, but living and loving the Southern life in Georgia, she is married, with three amazing kids. Melody is also a contributing author for “1 Habit for Entrepreneurs” and is an influencer. Melody creates literacy videos for parents through her YouTube channel. She is a lover of coffee hot or cold, reading, writing, and baking. She is a proclaimed supermom, combustible content creator, and aspiring future pet lover of two Sphinx cats or hermit crabs, old or young! Find Melody on Facebook @lovingliteracy01, IG@loveliteracy01 and Twitter @lovelit01.

To be reminded why your work is so very important and for more stories and advice, visit our collection of teacher perspectives at The Art of Teaching.

You can view the McGraw Hill Privacy Policy here. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and do not reflect the values or positioning of McGraw Hill or its sales.

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Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators. We focus on educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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