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Are you looking forward to a reset? With the end of a school year comes the opportunity to start anew. For a teacher, the simple joys of summer include getting more sleep, drinking your coffee while it’s warm, having time to eat your whole lunch, and simply feeling human again. Let’s be honest: teaching is exhausting, and you deserve a break. We all know how summers can tend to fly by, and I wanted to help you make the most of this time to set yourself up for success both personally and professionally. Here are 10 things teachers can do in the summer.
When was the last time you read a book purely for pleasure? Although we spend a lot of time trying to inspire students to enjoy reading, finding time to do it for ourselves during the school year is challenging. Make time to read for reading’s sake this summer. Reach out to friends for suggestions—or join a book club! Read fiction, nonfiction, or whatever you feel like reading during this time.
This summer, you might want to read books that are totally unrelated to your work in the classroom. That’s completely understandable! However, you might choose to read books you’re planning to teach next year if that’s fun for you. For some people, it is!
Similarly, you might choose to read professional development books that help you brush up on the latest pedagogical strategies. Maybe you’ll read something that helps you implement a new system in your classroom. There are tons and tons of great books out there that can help you develop your teaching practice.
I don’t know about you, but I actually love reading personal development books. There’s so much great content out there now to help you with things like time management, organizing your time better, managing stress, prioritizing your health, and so much more. These might be inspiring for you going into next year!
On a somewhat related note, another thing teachers should do in the summer is focus on their health. Being so busy in the school year, teachers often sacrifice their health. The summer is a great time to reflect on how well you prioritized your physical and mental health this year. For some teachers, part of this will likely be trying to get all of your appointments in before school begins again!
Take time this summer to reflect, not only on changes you want to make during the summer months, but also on changes that you can bring into the school year. Start a new positive habit that you think you can reasonably carry with you throughout the busy school year. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. Make a small but meaningful change. There’s a lot of great podcasts that can help you with this!
Have you binge-watched any good shows lately? Laying on your couch in your PJ’s all day might go against your nature, particularly for my fellow type-a teachers. If so, it’s all the more important that you make time for this type of relaxation. You can’t be at your best unless you take time to relax, and summer is the best time for you to do this. You need to take time to recharge your batteries!
As teachers transition into the summer, many choose to level up their practice by going to professional development conferences, reading pedagogical books, doing book clubs with other teachers, or taking courses. One course ELA teachers might consider taking is Empowered Readers.
This course equips you with the knowledge and resources you need to transform your classroom reading program. It’s designed to help you give students autonomy in their reading with a step-by-step implementation plan for empowering each and every one of your students. Click here to learn more.
Teachers are natural learners and tend to pick up on new things quickly, but we spend so much time teaching others that we don’t always make a point to learn something new ourselves. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try rock climbing or disc golf. Perhaps you feel a sudden urge to learn how to knit! Take on a new hobby, learn a new skill, take a class, or just try something new. It can be anything. Just have fun with it! 😊
Although you don’t want to spend all of your summer months thinking about work, it’s nonetheless a good idea to devote some time to reflecting on your classroom practices and routines and consider what you want to change. What I like to do is take the first week after school is over to to relax completely, but then I make a point to do some intentional self-reflection after that.
Many teachers will do this type of self-reflection at the end of the summer, but as we all know, the fall tends to sneak up on us. To have some more peace of mind for the remainder of the summer months, do some self-reflection early on. Ask yourself some questions like…
During the school year, the teaching job doesn’t end when we go home for the day. Teachers often spend evenings grading, emailing parents, doing prep work, etc. Because we sometimes need to bring our work home with us, our personal relationships can suffer. With more time comes more opportunity to strengthen your connections with friends and family.
Go on a lunch date with that friend you never have time to see. Plan a meetup with your friends or even your colleagues. Leave your phone at home and spend a full afternoon with your family. Now is the perfect time for this! If you have kids (or are planning to) consider reading The Family Board Meeting, which has great tips for deepening your connections with them.
Even though teaching is exhausting, studies show that almost half of all teachers often sleep less than 6 hours per night. It’s not hard to imagine why this is the case. Teachers have a lot to deal with in the run of a day, and all of the pressures that come with the job can make it hard to have a good night’s rest. I know that I would often wake up stressed about certain students. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. Teachers should try to get more sleep in the summer. If you can, lose the alarm!
To set yourself up for success, you might consider going into your classroom during the summer and preparing if for the year well ahead of time. I like to go in and do some intentional decorating with an classroom rules that sets the tone for the classroom. I talk about how to make the most out of bulletin boards in another post that you can read here.
Consider creating a bare-bones year plan during the summer. You don’t need to plan everything (don’t spend weeks doing this) but having a framework in your mind of how the school year will go will allow you to relax more in the summer. You might prefer doing this earlier in the summer or just before school starts. It’s totally up to you!
My final suggestion for what teachers should do in the summer is simple but important…Do something for YOU, whether that be a massage, a day at the beach, a getaway with friends, a hiking adventure, or whatever your interests may be, and do it without any guilt!
There you have it, teachers. I hope that you have the relaxing and rejuvenating summer that you deserve. In another post, I talk about what I do the first week back to school in middle school ELA. Click here to read it!
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