Summer – while it is NOT the free time for teachers that so many people assume it is, it is the one time of year when a teacher can work in a relaxed way! What a rare opportunity – to be able to sit down with a cup of coffee and think for a while before jumping headlong into to the next thing on your list!
There are so many projects that you could undertake. How do you decide what to spend your time on? How do you balance summer tasks with time for family, and time just to unwind to be ready to do it all again in the fall?
If you’re lucky, you leave at the end of this school year knowing what grade(s) and subject(s) you will be teaching in the fall. (But of course, many teachers won’t be so lucky!) Most likely, you won’t know much about your new kids yet, even though you may be getting previews of certain kids that you might be teaching next year from their current teachers.
I was just thinking of some of the endeavors that teachers tackle in the few short months of summer, and I’m sure that you could already add even more to my list!
Planning New Activities
Do you already have a list of ideas – activities that you thought you would like to try during this past year but just never got to? You know, the ones you stashed away in the back of your mind or on an ever-growing summer list in the back of your desk drawer.
Setting Up Behavior, Motivational, and Engagement Strategies
Maybe you have plans to revise or update some of your classroom management routines, or maybe you are feeling the need for some new ones – possibly to address a new classroom situation in the fall.
Revising Old Plans
Or maybe you’re just seeing some of your “free time” in the summer as an opportunity to finally get your plan book just the way you want it. Of course once you get started, I know you’ll be seeing plans that you want to tweak just a little while you’re at it.
Planning Extras Like Special Holiday Lessons
Summer is a great time to plan special lessons, fun activities, treats, and decorations for those special days that we love to celebrate in the classroom and that always come up so suddenly during the school year.
Of course, organizing lesson plans is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to classroom organization. What other information, materials, sources, lists, charts, etc were you thinking you might do something about over the summer?
Shopping for New Resources
Maybe this is a fun one, maybe not – depending on your view of shopping! There are so many choices, the only real problem with shopping for new teaching resources during the summer is watching the budget. Fortunately, teachers do get good at making a little money go a long way, but wouldn’t it be nice if that wasn’t always necessary?
Shopping for Bargains on Classroom Supplies
If you’re new to teaching, this is probably a big one. There is so much stuff you need, and shopping for bargains on all that stuff takes time. On the other hand, if you’ve been teaching for a while, you probably have back-to-school shopping down to a science. Probably you already know which stores have the best sales on school supplies and when each sale usually happens.
Taking Professional Development Classes
A summer class can be fun, depending on the class, but it can also take a big chunk out of your “free time,” especially when there are so many other things that you really want, or need, to cram into these few short months.
Meeting with Teammates
Some teaching teams get together outside of school, others don’t. A summer meeting with teammates in someone’s home or at a restaurant can be a great way to relax and talk. (But so can time away from it all!)
Whatever you plan to do over the summer, my one big suggestion would be DON’T try to do it all! Make it your choice – what you will work on and how much time will yo u spend? These few short months go by so fast!
Summer “vacation” is definitely NOT what people think it is. It can be extremely busy for teachers, but it is still OUR time!
Happy summer (seriously)!
Resources from Classroom in the Middle