As I sit in my chair looking out at the ocean, I dream of faraway places I have only seen in magazines, or saw once in a movie. I watch the choppy waves and wonder how a cruise ship manages to get the passengers safely to their destination amidst such an angry sea. I need to shut down those thoughts and exchange them with, “I wonder what their final destination is?” I have not given up on the idea of a plane, a ship, a train, or my own car taking me away to places I long to see. I believe I could use a time-out.

It seems I am not the only one that could use a time-out to gain a new perspective in a place that is removed from the ordinary routine we often create ourselves. I teach an online course for those teachers who are seeking a teaching credential. Many are already teaching with provisions that they earn the credential. The stress of working and taking courses in the evening has many feeling drained and less than pleasant about receiving feedback. I try to frame my comments with suggestions that I hope they will find helpful. I have a series of snippy emails from a student who rushes through the work, turns in incomplete responses and makes excuses that run the gamut. I encourage each student to hold a space on the weekends for self-care, with the admonishment that safeguarding body and mind is worth the effort. One student told me that she is fine in the classroom, but falls apart at home. She desperately needs to balance school and home life, but doesn’t know how. She needs a time-out to refocus her priorities. Her home should be sacred space.

Teacher burn-out is at a record high. Many leave the profession due to various reasons, but predominately stress is the major cause. New teachers are trying to impress, and they take home piles of homework, leaving no time at home to unwind. Teaching requires that the instructor be completely present for their students. Stressed, overburdened teachers transfer those feelings to their students. A principal once told me that teachers have the job of, “fixing a train while it’s moving.”

My wish for every teacher, new or old, is to sit in a time-out chair and take a good look at what you can do that restores your mind and body. I hope each and every one leaves work at work in order to keep home a sacred place.

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