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Why We Shouldn’t Retire From Our Mid-year Break

Do you remember that feeling as the last week of the school year approached? You could almost smell and taste the offerings of a summer break! Do you remember that feeling of exhaustion as the countdown took place to have exams finished and marked, reports cards written, and final year end activities concluded? That fatigue may have signified a good feeling, knowing that the effort and energy you expended had been rewarded by the progress of students moving on to another grade or a higher level of education. The fatigue may have been because even though you had worked so hard the support for your students was not there. You may have felt a sense of guilt that you should somehow have done more (but how?). You may have been angry that resources and time were in short supply.

But then came the final day of school. Chalk boards wiped clean, books put away, your desk and shelves tidied. You collected the classroom plants, stripped the walls of the past year decorations, and made your humble good-byes to the tired staff and administration. Rest, relaxation, sleep, family time, and chores of a more banal nature beckoned. What a sense of needed relief!

Now that we don’t live our lives by the bell, we as retirees may forget that uplifting sense of relaxation, that important act of “letting go”. The first day of summer break was a time of not having to dwell on the prospects of the future, or even the year ahead. It was time to step aside from the daily musings of what had worked well in the past and what needed to be rethought and improved. It was time to get away and find ourselves again.

It is important for retired educators to remember the benefits of the cycle of teaching. Let’s make sure that in July and August we take time to listen to the warm winds, to smell the flowers blooming in the gardens, to laugh and giggle with the children around us. It is the right time to slow down, breathe deeply, and let our minds wander into the daydreams of summer. It is time to soak up the sound of water lapping on the shore and gurgling down the creeks and streams. It is time to fall asleep on the hammock as we read a good book. When we worked we lived for the students that we taught but we also lived for the rejuvenation of summer; for the green of the trees, the cheerful colour of the blossoms of high season, the warm hugs of the air, the grace of blue skies and wispy clouds.

As we come to the end of another school year, the Well-being Committee of the BCRTA wishes you an uplifting, enjoyable, and relaxing season. We hope you are able to enjoy free time and the freedom of mind to let go and truly sense the beauty and peace that come with the breezes of summer.

Terry Green is chair of the BCRTA Wellness Committee.