I recently had the opportunity to read Bella Bunny to an elementary school, which is becoming one of my favorite things to do. I usually read to first graders and younger, then we have a question and answer session, which is completely adorable! It was right before winter break and I could not help but notice how tired the teachers were.
After the readings, I was having a nice conversation with Mary the librarian and I said to her, “wow this must be a rough week on teachers. I can’t imagine how hard those last couple of days before the break are.” The kids are wired and the teachers still have work to do, plus their own holidays to plan for. Mary is a special education teacher turned librarian. She is at retirement age but made it very clear she has no plans of doing that or slowing down. She was one of those women who had so much to teach and I was ready to learn! She did not disappoint, Mary had some words of wisdom for me that really made me think.
She said with a smile on her face, “Well when we get back from this break they will get right into another countdown for the next break.”
It got me thinking because I knew exactly what she was talking about so many of us do the vacation countdown or the break countdown. This is not just teachers but even as parents or in our own jobs we’re always living for the weekend or that next vacation. Like our breaks are helping us simply survive.
I asked Mary, “do you feel like living in countdown mode is changing the culture of their classrooms?”
Mary says, “well I can tell you that I love my job. I come to my job every day and I live it day-by-day.” She said she enjoys each day as it comes and faces challenges each day as they come. She also said that she doesn’t see herself wanting to retire anytime soon.
So I wonder if we make a shift and instead of living for the next break from our jobs maybe we take Mary’s advice and make the choice to love our jobs each day. Find something good about the day, acknowledge the bad, but make the choice to love each day instead of living for the next break.
I think that change of mindset will change the culture of our classrooms, workplaces, and homes.
I am taking Mary’s advice. I have a countdown sign that hangs by my kitchen table, in the heart of my home. I changed it to read 1 Day Until Tomorow.