Teaching Opinion

A Teacher’s Summer Resolution: Take Your Rest

By Anna E. Baldwin — June 29, 2016 1 min read
Illustration of calm woman working at desk
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

My to-do list takes the form of a sticky-note wall in my home.

These post-it notes remind me--every time I pass my kitchen table--of the many tasks I must complete, and never, not ever, do they diminish throughout the whole school year. When two notes come down, another five go up. Eventually though, summer does arrive; piles of paper get recycled, wall coverings fade, the notes unstick and drift off the wall like yellow leaves in autumn.

But this doesn’t happen automatically. We have to stop adding to the lists and piles. How does this work?

In physical science class we learned about the law of motion that says momentum is affected by the mass and speed of a moving object. That’s why a train takes longer to stop than a car, for example. I wonder: do these laws apply to the teaching life? Must the metaphysics of teaching dictate that the heavier the year or the more abrupt the arrival of school’s last day, the longer it takes a teacher to slow down? We must slow down.

Every educator knows that in the business of teaching, there is no such thing as a quiet day. We never fritter away hours or take leisurely breaks. In a world of bells and meetings and paperwork and expectations, nothing simple happens. Every snack time is a bite with a list; every stroll is a “walk and talk.” We learn to match multiple tasks to destinations and retrieve many items at once to save time and steps. It is a frenetic dance from August to June, and when we finally do sit down, our legs still hum.

All year long, we teachers give other people permission: permission to use the bathroom, permission to grab something from a locker, permission to turn in a paper late with no penalty.

I have a proposition. On the last day of school, we need to give a different kind of permission: permission to ourselves to observe another part of Newton’s law which states that an object at rest stays at rest. Try that, teachers. No piles and no post-its. Go on vacation. Read all the books. Sit in your yard.

Just take your rest, and make that stick.

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in Teacher-Leader Voices are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
When SEL Curriculum Is Not Enough: Integrating Social-Emotional Behavior Supports in MTSS
Help ensure the success of your SEL program with guidance for building capacity to support implementation at every tier of your MTSS.
Content provided by Illuminate Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Profession Webinar
Professional Wellness Strategies to Enhance Student Learning and Live Your Best Life
Reduce educator burnout with research-affirmed daily routines and strategies that enhance achievement of educators and students alike. 
Content provided by Solution Tree
English-Language Learners Webinar The Science of Reading and Multilingual Learners: What Educators Need to Know
Join experts in reading science and multilingual literacy to discuss what the latest research means for multilingual learners in classrooms adopting a science of reading-based approach.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Tutoring or Remediation: Which Learning Recovery Strategy Is Most Popular?
Tutoring is backed by research, but remediation—going back over old content—could widen some academic gaps.
5 min read
Lacey Lassetter instructs the third grade ESL reading class at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School on March 4, 2022, in Dallas, Texas.
Lacey Lassetter teaches a 3rd grade reading class at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School in Dallas in March. The school uses “intersession” days to provide targeted teaching for struggling students, part of its strategy for pandemic learning recovery.
Laura Buckman for Education Week
Teaching Q&A Why Teachers' Voices Matter: A Q&A With Veteran Teacher, Author, and Blogger Larry Ferlazzo
The people most affected by a problem often have the best ideas on how to solve it, says the architect of Classroom Q&A.
8 min read
Larry Ferlazzo, left, and Katie Hull Sypnieski, his colleague and co-author, while picketing during an 8-day teacher strike in April.
Larry Ferlazzo, left, and Katie Hull Sypnieski, his colleague and co-author, take a pause while picketing during an eight-day teacher strike in April in Sacramento, Calif.
Courtesy of Larry Ferlazzo
Teaching Opinion Differentiated Instruction Doesn't Need to Be a Heavy Lift
Sometimes adapting instruction is just about making decisions in the moment to reach all students, regardless of their gifts or challenges.
3 min read
Teaching 3 Ways to Get Students Engaged in Their Learning
Students should be able to trust that their voices are heard in the classroom, said experts and educators in an online discussion.
2 min read
Image of a teacher and students.