The debate about whether there should be a recess or not is generally about students. Students need a break, as do teachers, but the reasons are different. A recess is proven to improve the attention span of students. As for teachers, it refreshes them to pay attention to students, deliver lectures and manage students in a classroom. Teachers have been observed to be more patient and understanding after breaks.
Recess time: Why do students and teachers need it?
Recess time for students is sacred. It is a time not only to eat lunch but also to play freely with classmates. This increases their power of absorption during the remaining classes. Similarly, recess is much-needed for teachers. It keeps them away from the noise and ruckus of the classroom and gives rest to their vocal cords and minds. A constantly stimulating environment can soon become overwhelming for teachers. We expect so much from teachers, from managing restless kids to making the classroom environment conducive to learning. The pressure from the students, administration, and parents can easily become too much. Lunch break becomes even more crucial due to all these factors that can deteriorate a teacher’s health and well-being. Who could imagine that a lunch break can have so many benefits for teachers as well? Six essential benefits of a recess for teachers
- Taking a break-
Taking a break is more than just stopping an ongoing activity. It is active relaxation. Changing the mental and physical space can mean talking about anything that is not about teaching or school. Teachers can indulge in conversations with their colleagues about anything important or not talk at all for a few minutes. In fact, taking a break can have a different meaning for different individuals, but it indeed has numerous benefits for every teacher. A break in the form of recess, between classes and correction work, gives teachers some time and space to refresh. It is essential to break the monotony of work and take a few minutes to feel rejuvenated.
2. Time vs productivity
We often mistake measuring our work according to how much time we spend on it rather than the quality of work. Long hours may seem enticing at first. It is common for teachers to work through the recess so they can get more work done, but in the long term, the quality of work deteriorates. This is because teachers try to measure their productivity with time rather than energy. Research has proven that taking short breaks in between work increases productivity. A lunch break has the added benefit of increasing a teacher’s productivity during school hours as well.
3. Work-life balance
What does it mean to have a work-life balance, and how does a break help? Literally, it means to have the perfect balance while dividing one’s time and energy between their job and other aspects of life, including family, hobbies, and leisure activities. When teachers deliver their best at their workplace and fulfill the needs of their students, it is easy for them to lose track of their lives. It is easy to slip into the trap of giving all energy to the job. After all, going through copies, creating lesson plans, and preparing for class can take their whole day and cut short breaks. Recess acts as a much-needed break amid a heavily-packed schedule. A simple lunch break is much more beneficial than continuous hours of rigor.
4. Mental health
Work stress is an occupational hazard that has become an epidemic in recent years. The heavy workload, hectic schedule, and the high-pressure environment of schools take a toll on teachers' mental health. Over time, a recess proves to be very helpful for a teacher’s peace of mind. Continued stress has various harmful effects on the mind and body. It can cause premature aging in the form of greying hair, dark circles, and stress lines on the forehead. Even in the present, fatigue can leave a teacher frustrated in the rest of their classes. Recess acts as a time to take a break and rejuvenate. A teacher must put aside work-related thoughts and simply focus on enjoying lunch.
5. Physical health
Physical ailments such as spondylitis, migraine, joint pain, and a strained throat from shouting in class are common work-related health conditions for teachers. After working in classrooms for years, the body starts showing the adverse effects.
The recess is a teacher’s time to work in a physical break from this strenuous routine. A teacher can do a few quick stretches and short meditations during recess to bring the body into a relaxation stage.
6. Big picture
Shifting one’s perspective to look at the big picture helps in truly appreciating the benefits of recess. A half-hour break might seem like nothing in one school day, but considering its long term effects can show different benefits to the teacher. A teacher must relax and move away from the noisy environment to take a breath of fresh air or drink a cup of refreshing coffee. While it is easy to overlook the advantages of a break, teachers must focus on themselves to provide a better quality of education to the students.
The significance of a recess can not be overstated in the everyday routine of teachers and students. For a teacher, a short break from active engagement in the class can boost their performance. The more calm and relaxed a teacher is during their class, the better. Balance is key to a successful professional life. It is possible to have a long and smooth run as a teacher. So, the teachers shouldn’t shy away from taking full advantage of their lunchtime breaks.