It is almost summer! Can you hear the angels singing? Summers are exactly what a teacher needs to refresh their minds and to fill their tank back up.
Here are some things you should definitely do this summer as a teacher, as well as things you should definitely not do.
DO: Reflect and audit for next year
DON’T: Stress about next year
You survived the year that will go down in history as the most challenging time to be an educator. You likely taught remotely, at some point you likely taught students in person, you may have taught both students remotely and students in person…at the same time. You lived in the uncertainty of being sent home at a moment’s notice.
It is 100% normal to feel anxious about next year.
You likely have had thoughts or concerns about what next year will look like.
Take a moment to reflect on the year preferably in the first days of summer while everything is still fresh. I like to use the framework of “keep doing, stop doing, start doing” as a form of reflection.
- It might be … you want to keep using your LMS as a way of organizing your content.
- You want to stop hunting down missing work.
- And you want to start using The Grid Method.
You don’t have to do anything immediately, but it is good to reflect on and make a plan to fix some of the things that bothered you throughout the year, so you aren’t stressing about the impending challenges that await you in August.
DO: batch your productivity
DON’T: FEEL BAD FOR “WASTING” A DAY
If you are a teacher, you most likely have never had a doctor’s appointment during the school day. There just isn’t an easy way to make that happen. I called these types of appointments summer chores – things like doctor appointments, dentist appointments, eye appointments, car maintenance or repair, your children’s appointments, a hair appointment, and renewing a license in person.
These are all things that must be done, but they are so time consuming to do within working school hours and it really can be challenging to take part of a day for a regular appointment. Enter: teacher summer homework.
Now, my super tip here is to actually batch these! Just like you may mark out a week on the calendar to go on vacation. Mark a week on your calendar and try to squeeze as many appointments into that week. You will want to give yourself some margin since things like these go long. You will feel so accomplished at the end of that week, and it leaves so much more time for rest.
Now that you have batched some adult responsibilities, it is time to rest. Don’t feel like you are wasting your time if you want to read a book in one sitting (I almost did that with The Invisible Life of Addie Larue — so good!) or binge watch The Crown.
I think as teachers we are used to making the most of every single minute in the classroom. This is a good thing, but it is also good to give yourself the freedom to rest.
Do: Think through some of your lessons
Don’t: Spend the entire summer focused on your classroom decor
I have spent hundreds of hours decorating my classroom – shopping the Target dollar spot or scrolling Pinterest and Instagram for ideas. I want the space that I spend a majority of my day in to feel inviting, organized, and visually appealing. If you aren’t careful, you can head back to school with your classroom decor ready to go and have not thought through anything else.
One summer, I revised my unit on rational numbers. It was a tough unit for my students, it was at the beginning of the year, and I knew that my future self would be grateful that I was able to leisurely rework that unit. It paid off! It made August and September feel less stressful, and I was able to get ahead of my lessons. Teachers getting ahead of their lessons in the summer is a very ambitious goal, but it can make a huge different during the school year.
Do: schedule time to treat yourself!
Do you love going to lunch with a group of friends? Do you find getting a pedicure a great treat? Maybe you want to take time to visit some family you haven’t seen in a while.
Be sure to treat yourself to something that you enjoy! Make this the best teacher summer yet!
How are you spending your summer?