Do you remember when you would have a long night out with friends and you would say to the waiter “I want to close my tab. It’s time to go home." You might have had a little too much fun, stayed out too late, and well, you just knew the night wasn’t getting any younger.
Well, it’s that time of year and I am ready to close the tab on the academic school year 2020-21. I am tired, the kids are tired, the parents are exhausted, and we all need a summer break to recharge.
I recently asked my family: What words come to mind when you think of summer vacation? These were the candid words. . .
Rebecca: swim, play with my friends, go camping, rock climb
Scott: water, camping, family, fishing
Hannah: read Greek mythology, beach, ocean animals, late nights
Erin: no zoom, gardening, exercising, ocean, family time
Summer vacation is different to each one of us. However, each individual finds rest and relaxation in this season. I yearn for the summer days. . . I get to soak up my time with my children, my family, my friends, and take up hobbies that have been put to the wayside.
However, I feel that I was robbed of that rejuvenation time last year. So, this summer break that is needed, is two years in the making.
Before I kick off my heels and run to the water’s edge, I find that the “decompression” part of any major project, challenge, or school year is needed. It’s the not fun part. When I read the definition of decompress, the Merriam Webster Dictionary entry said “to relieve or reduce the pressure on something.”
With the decompression phase, you have to wait a bit and let your body settle.
I remember when Scott used to scuba dive, he would always remind me how important it was to do the “deco stops.” I had no idea what that meant. He would then go on to tell me that a decompression dive is one where the diver must make one or more mandatory stops prior to reaching the surface. The purpose of the stops is to allow the reduction of gases in the body.
Well, let’s be honest. Living through this pandemic as a teacher, as a parent, as an individual, we all need a moment to decompress.
I was recently asked the following question in an educational meeting: “How do you want to be remembered as a teacher during the pandemic?”
Ahh, the decompression phase.
I was taken back by the question and I immediately felt like my stomach had jumped to my throat. My eyes welled up and all of the emotions I have kept together for my 22 students, my 2 daughters at home, and my husband, just spilled out. This year has not been easy, it has not been challenging, it has not been overwhelming, it has been “ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.”
When I answered the question, I said “I want my students to know that during the darkest of days, they always had a teacher who was supportive, who was present, who showed up each day to give them the security that they needed.”
I think we could all ask ourselves this same question: “How do we want to be remembered living through a pandemic?”
Supportive of others?
Present to your family?
Were you there for your loved ones during the hardest times?
This is not the time for any of us to toot our own horns. It is a time to reflect and be honest with ourselves. I definitely did not win any awards this year for best teaching practices during a pandemic or improving test scores. But, I do know in my heart, that I tried my hardest, and for this year, I celebrate each one of us that tried our hardest.
We, as a collective group of individuals, tried our hardest with our families, tried our hardest with working during a pandemic, tried our hardest as parents, as friends, as neighbors, as community members.
Decompress. Ask yourself some of these questions.
And then extend grace. . .
Be proud that you made it through these most unprecedented of times and then enjoy a must needed rest.