Sunday, October 06, 2019

Kim Frencken: Mental health days

I've always been a fan of mental health days. Those days when you just cannot face another human, big or small. Those days when you've heard all the jokes and can't paste a smile on. Those days when a few more hours of sleep sound heavenly.

Mental health days can help prevent illness. Really. No joke.

When you get tired, physically and emotionally, your system is run down and susceptible to catching every germ that flies your way. Your body is too tired to fight. A day of mental health and rest can restore you and prepare you to face the crud.

Mental health days are awesome for getting caught up. You have tons to grade, millions of lessons to plan, thousands of emails to respond to.... at least it feels that way. 

You have no idea how you'll possibly fit one more thing into your week-end. Your to-do list is miles long. You stay up late (which only perpetuates the problem) to try to get caught up, or you can't sleep thinking about it. Might as well stay home. Throw in a load of laundry, grab a hot cup of coffee and dig in. You'll feel better when you've made a dent in the pile.

Mental health days do not compound the problem. "But, I have to write sub plans." Yes, you do. But will it really hurt your kids to have practice and review activities for one day? Stuff that is easy to plan and easy for a substitute to do. 

It doesn't even have to be graded (assuming it's paper) by you. Have your kids grade it. They can learn a little about taking responsibility and ownership of their grades by grading their papers. They don't have to count for a grade, but they can provide you with some additional information about the skills your kids need to work on. You aren't losing a day of educational instruction.

A mental health day doesn't mean a wasted day. Just the opposite. A day to rest. A day to refresh. A day for you, so you can be your best for them.

(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog, Chocolate For the Teacher.)

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