As the school year winds down, we are getting our to-do lists together and checking off the things that we need to accomplish before the end of the school year. You are probably starting to make summer plans if you haven’t already started to do so. Your mind is torn with the amount of work to be completed with the excitement for having a summer break. Summer is a great time for you both to recharge and to push yourself.
Here are 5 tips for how to fill your summer:
1. Learn Something New
[0:49] First, learn something new! Take a class. Read an educational book. Watch a webinar. Do something that is not work/subject related. Disconnect from your teaching brain by learning something new. Put yourself in an uncomfortable situation to learn something new that you do not already know. You will enjoy the change of pace and your brain will change as the result of this challenge.
2. Seek Out Professional Development
[1:15] Second, seek out professional development. Summer is a great time for you to learn something inside of your profession/subject. Going to a workshop, conference, or work-related webinar is a great way to hone your teaching skills. My favorite is the K-8 Elementary Physical Education Workshop. Not only do I get to learn from some of the best #physed teachers around but I’m immersed into the experience. I’m able to be around like-minded individuals from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. We eat, learn and play together. Sometimes the best interactions happen when a small group goes out to get some ice cream during the evening. These interactions drive me. I set myself up for the best possible start for the coming school year when I join these experiences.
3. Get Some Rest
[2:03] Third, get some rest. During the summer I’m able to rest a lot more. The first few days are normally spent taking a lot of naps and sleeping in. I love being able to get up a little later during the summer and not before the sun gets up. I am also able to spend some time sitting on the couch binge-watching a TV show or catching a movie. I can catch up on Star Trek or rewatch Star Wars. I struggle with getting rest during the school year as I seem to be always doing something from teaching #physed to one of my college classes. The summer I find the change of pace difficult but necessary. I use the summer to let my aging body recover a bit. I also make it a priority to get away. My kids are getting older and only have time for a few more family adventures. Some years we stay more local and experience a lot of day trips. Other years we plan a big trip across the country. Travel helps me to learn and grow but also gives me time to unwind and disconnect from my computer. I also try to get away with my wife for a few days. The time to reconnect is important as our daily life seems to be work and shuffling the kids around from point A to point B. Ideally, if I had the funds and time, I would attempt to get away for at least a few days after I get out for the summer and also a trip before I have to go back. I find myself getting more anxious as I get closer to returning to work and having the time away helps to minimize those feelings.
4. Complete the Necessary Time-Consuming Tasks
[3:26] Fourth, spend some time during the summer completing those time-consuming tasks that eat up your life when you start teaching again. Maybe you need to revamp your curriculum? Maybe you wanted to overhaul your roll sheets? Maybe you need to create new Plicker cards? Maybe you want to make new peer assessment worksheets? Take the time to update your playlists so they are ready to go before your first class. These are things that aren’t difficult but take time. Having these items off your to do list as you start back up frees up time to work on something else.
5. Reflect on the Previous School Year
[4:00] Last, maybe the most important part of the summer… REFLECTION! If you want to be a great educator, you need to think about what has happened during the previous school year. Reflection should probably come sooner rather than later during the summer but it can occur at any point. What can you do to make yourself better? What worked this school year? What didn’t work? How can you deal with conflict/difficult situations/off task students better than you did last year. What if you change the order of your units? What if you developed a new team building activity to mix it up for you? Thinking about where you have been can help you take a different path for the future. Here are some additional reflection questions to consider. Teaching the exact same thing, the exact same way will just get you to be bored. After 22 years of service, I’m still tinkering with the things that I do on a daily basis. At the core of this is reflection. Without reflection, I would be repeating the same mistakes year after year after year.
Join the Conversation:
How do you spend your summer? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
– 10 Summer Activity Ideas for the Whole Family by Chris Nichols
– Hook Kids on Activity with a Summer Fun Unit! [Interactive] by Darci Mick Beversdorf
– Summertime PE Professional Development Ideas by Jason Gemberling
– Increasing Student Activity During Summer by Jason Gemberling