The Christmas break is finally here, so how can teachers make sure they leave work in the classroom? Neurologist Judy Willis shares her advice.
The countdown has begun for many teachers who eagerly anticipate a well deserved and much needed Christmas break.
It may surprise you to hear that there is a neuroscience behind effectively switching to rejuvenation mode. Just as your brain’s memory strengthens with practice, so do your brain’s behaviour control networks. Essentially, what this mean is that teachers get used to patterns of behaviour – such as thinking about their pupils before themselves – during term time which can be hard to break over the holidays. However, it’s important to switch off. So to help you I’ve put together a few tips on how to do this.
Make a list and check it twice
Write down all the things you’ve promised yourself to get done during the break. This could include organising things you’ve put off – cleaning your desk and arranging the photos on your phone into albums on your computer. It might also include getting together with people you’ve had to put off during the term or sending thank you cards to students and families. Other top festive tasks include pre-making any holiday food or buying gifts for family and friends.
To care for your brain and body during the school break any demands that are put upon us need to be managed. Your behavior control centres are located high up in your brain’s prefrontal cortex. These neural networks send messages to the brain directing the desired physical actions or emotional responses. The system works well until stress builds up and blocks the behavior control messages flowing from cortex to brain. This means that knowing what you have to do stops you from stressing out.