Ah, term four and all its charm is well and truly upon us! Regardless of where you teach, term four in Australia brings with it a myriad of additional events and commitments that need to be incorporated into an already jam-packed timetable. Graduations, Christmas or other religious celebrations, excursions, and end of year class parties to name a few, all while we endeavour to write our Semester Two reports or help our senior students through the hectic exam period. While some enjoy the stepped-up pace and celebratory atmosphere of the last few weeks of the school year, others loathe it and find themselves counting down the days until holidays with a resigned weariness. Tempers can fray, we may start to feel negative or easily annoyed, and we can begin to neglect our own health and wellbeing as we try to get make it through each week, before crashing unceremoniously on the couch on Friday night at an even earlier hour than usual.
While there’s sometimes not too much we can do to take some of the busyness away in term four, there are some things we can consider to improve the likelihood of us arriving at our summer break somewhat less ragged and emotionally exhausted.
Embrace it- If we can surrender to the fact that things are going to get a little crazy round here and that some of our best laid plans will very likely go by the wayside, we can start to accept the last term for what it is, and welcome the chaos that inevitable ensues.
Find times for the things you enjoy- this doesn’t just apply to our personal lives (where it is very important to try not to neglect opportunities for self -care when they arise) but also with our students and colleagues. Whether it’s reading a favourite novel with students, taking time to really chat to kids on yard duty, or eating lunch outside with teacher friend, making time for the things that fill our cup can go a long way to sustaining us through the next few weeks.
Say no- when and if you can, practice saying no. Whether it’s declining a social invitation in your personal life that you really don’t want to go to, or saying no thank you to an additional end of year event with the class next door, practise being okay with not having to be involved in everything on the calendar.
Pause- when we are tired, our patience is worn thin and we have lots on our plate, it can be very easy to revert to emotionally responses to undesirable behaviours from our students (or parents or colleagues!) Practice the power of the pause whenever you can- seek to understand and choose your response, rather than allowing it to be chosen for you.
I hope you can find moments to really enjoy and celebrate these last few weeks with your students, colleagues and school community, and that you reach the summer holidays ready to relax, recharge and make memories with your nearest and dearest. You deserve it!
Check out other articles Kirsty has written here.