Summer break is here and you’re thinking, “It’s time to relax.” But if you’re anything like most of the teachers I know, once you’ve slept in for a few days and binge-watched that one show (or three) on Netflix, you tend to look around and say, “Now what?” When that time comes, here’s a list of ten things that every teacher should do during summer break to refresh and rejuvenate mentally and physically.
Sleep. Refilling your ‘sleep account’ is extremely important. When we are sleep deprived, even fun activities can wear us down. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If your schedule doesn’t permit that, try for a short nap in the afternoon.
Read. During the school year, we read a great deal but not necessarily what we would choose. Now is the time to indulge in whatever genre you love – even guilty pleasures are allowed. Make a list and download or order those books, so they are instantly available whenever you have some downtime.
Pamper yourself (men included!). If you only have time during the year for a quick manicure, treat yourself to a more luxurious spa treatment. Get a massage, a facial, and a new hairstyle. Use the summer break to experiment with new looks and products to help you feel amazing and get in a routine for the new school year.
Join a professional organisation. Scan the Internet to find a professional teaching organisation tailored toward grade level, subjects taught, and even areas of the world. There is usually a nominal fee for membership and the benefits are well worth the money, including member discounts, advance notice of events and discounted or free professional development opportunities.
Professional Development. I know – CPD is the last thing you want to do on vacation. Yet it’s the perfect way to get back into the groove of teaching after a long, lazy summer. Research options available online or locally wherever you happen to be during summer break. Most universities with a College of Education offer seminars and conferences during the summer with a variety of topics from classroom management to bulletin board design.
Socialise. Don’t forget about your peers during the summer. Stay in touch in person if possible, and via social media if you are apart. Brainstorming ideas as they come up or sharing information from your professional development activities works best if it’s fresh in your mind.
Explore. Check your mental list for places you’ve always wanted to go but never had the time. These don’t have to break the bank – they can be restaurants, shops, local attractions or natural wonders. After you’ve made the effort to go someplace you’ve never been, that part of the world never seems the same.
Plan. It’s never too early to plan for the new school year, but it can quickly get too late. Check great sites like Teach UAE Magazine, Pinterest and Edutopia for new and engaging ideas for your classroom. Think of themes, units and alternate assessments for your lesson plans.
Learn something new. Take a cooking class, an art seminar, language lessons or a tutorial on flower arrangements. Perfect one new skill this summer and bring it back to your class in the fall.
Reflect. Use the quiet times in your break to review and reflect on your past school year. List 10 strengths and 5 challenges you had this past year, and brainstorm how to avoid or fix these challenges for the new school year. Starting a journal or blog is also an effective way to keep track of your lessons and reflections for the future.
The summer holidays may seem long but the days go really quickly. Even in our ‘down time’ creating a good balance is important. Here’s to hoping you enjoy your summer break to the fullest!
By Betina Fuentes