3 Things Every Educator Should Do This Holiday Break

John Norlin · December 19, 2017

Today my wife and I took our 3 year old to see Santa and get pictures taken. As I watched the pure joy of a 3 year old play out as he stood in front of Santa and answered his questions I couldn’t help myself in getting caught up in realizing what was most important. There is nothing better than quality time with those we are closest with and love so dearly. As I watched our son get put on Santa’s lap he all of a sudden asks Santa, “How are things going at the North Pole?” Santa looked shocked for a half second and as he answered with a smile he said, “I have seen 4,000 kids so far this year and not one child has asked me how things were going at the North Pole.” I was reminded of how important it is that we act interested in others and teach our students to do the same. During this much needed and deserved time of rest for educators who serve our kids so passionately and unconditionally here are 3 things that every educator should do this holiday break.


1. Take time to unwind, but don’t forget to communicate

One of the interesting things about being in education is that it is really hard to describe to others what it is that you actually do on a day to day basis. Anyone who has ever taught for a year knows all the little and big things that a caring teacher balances each day. No bigger is the burdens that educators attempt to carry on their shoulders for the students they serve each day. For example, it is almost impossible to turn off the thoughts you have of the student you know is going home to an unstable or unhealthy situation. Students who during this holiday are not experiencing joy and celebration but instead stress and anxiety. As educators transition into break it is important to take time for yourself to unwind and decompress from the daily stressors, but many times this does not happen because we don’t communicate clearly what we need. Just like good teaching, pre-correct by letting those closest to you know that you need a day, a morning, or an evening, at any different point this break to relax and take care of yourself. Let them know why and that you will be fully present outside of that time.

2. Find time to reconnect with your purpose


There are lots of solid holiday movies out there to watch and be filled with the “holiday spirit”. There are also some solid movies made about teachers making a difference that can help fill our buckets during this time of rejuvenation. Watch one of your favorites from the past that you have already watched or watch a new one that you have never seen. Either way, be reminded of the special and purposeful position that you are in. A profession that has the opportunity to change the world one student at a time and positively impact the lives of young people each and everyday. Nobody said it was supposed to be easy. If it was easy everyone could do it. It is the hard that makes it great! Here is a list of some powerful movies on teaching. Watch, laugh, cry, and most importantly inspire yourself to continue pushing forward as an educator on a mission to make a difference.

  • Dead Poets Society (1989)

  • Lean on Me (1989)

  • Stand and Deliver (1988)

  • Finding Forrester (2000)

  • Freedom Writers (2007)

  • School of Rock (2003)

  • Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)

  • The Great Debaters (2007)

  • The Emperor’s Club (2002)

  • Good Will Hunting (1997)

  • To Sir, with love (1967)

  • Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

  • October Sky (1999)

  • Pay it Forward (2000)

  • McFarland, USA (2015)

“Nobody said it was supposed to be easy. If it was easy everyone could do it. It is the hard that makes it great!”

3. Start taking Emergen-C with Vitamin C Immediately

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Doesn’t it seem like everytime you head into a break that you get sick immediately. Some of you might already have gotten the seasonal bug, but if you have or have not, immediately start drinking water and taking Emergen-C, Airborne (originally created by an educator), or some other immune system booster to help ward off any bugs trying to take hold of your body in attempts to throw off your much deserved break. This is an easy one to forget. One thing that educators are awesome at doing is taking care of others. One thing many educators struggle with is taking care of themselves. Take care of yourself so that you can better take care of others.




John Norlin

John Norlin is a Co-Founder of CharacterStrong, a Servant Leadership trainer, and motivational speaker. He was Washington Advisor of the Year, taught 5 leadership classes per semester for 10 years at Sumner High School, and was a Program Administrator for the Whole Child for five years.