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Professional Development: A Teacher’s Summer Break Plan

Janelle Cox

For many teachers, summer break time is spent with their family, practicing self-care, doing school prep for the fall, or working on their professional development skills and growth. Teachers spend so much of their time during the school year working on completing their school to-do lists, that when it comes to summer break, they’ve become experts on how they want to spend their time outside of the classroom. They take the time to set goals and pack in as many things as they possibly can to ensure they make the most of the summer ahead of them. If you’re a teacher pondering what you want to do this summer, look no further. Here we’ll break down a teacher’s summer plan into a few categories to help you create your personalized summer to-to list.

Professional Development Over Summer Break

For many teachers, the summer months mean time to brush up on professional development skills and learn something new. There are many options to incorporate professional development into your summer break without ever leaving the house. You can even relax poolside this summer while bolstering your skills with online courses, conferences, and educational programs, it’s that easy.

If you are one of those people that loves your smartphone or loves using your iPad, then Stanford on iTunes U is a great option for you. Their app features full courses, so you can sit by the pool and learn all about STEM education. If you want to attend a conference or webinar, that’s easy too. Just head over to and search their calendar for times and dates that are convenient for you. Teachers First is another great option. They offer a free, live, online series of sessions that provides educators professional development and exploration. You even receive a completion certificate if you qualify.

Personal Growth and Family Time

For many teachers, the summer months mean carving out time to spend with their family and friends. They book weekend getaways, go on camping trips, spend time at the beach or plan fun, weeklong vacations. When creating your summer plan, ask yourself “Where can I go with my family to make some amazing memories?”

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Another important task on many teachers’ summer to-do list is to spend some time on personal growth. The summer months can be used to learn and try new things. What is it that you want to learn or try for the first time? If you’ve always wanted to learn kickboxing or take an art class, now is the time to do it.


A teacher’s job is said to be one of the hardest career choices because of all of the added stressors, like dealing with student behavior, standardized testing, and neverending paperwork. So when teachers have a few months to themselves, they like to spend some time on personal self-care. Self-care can mean something different to everyone. From getting a massage or facial to mediating or exercising and eating well, everyone chooses to improve themselves in their own way. Ask yourself, “What can I do to improve my physical and/or mental health this summer?” Here are a few ideas.

  • Take a hot bath
  • Go for a walk or do yoga
  • Read
  • Listen to music
  • Meditate
  • Bake

School Preparation

Thinking about the fall school year at the beginning of the summer isn’t a good idea because you need to give yourself a break. However, you can add school prep to your summer plan if you do it the right way. After you’ve given your brain a break from the classroom, slowly pencil in a night or two to start thinking about your goals for the fall. Think about what projects you want to do, what lessons went well that you want to do again, or what materials you can get ready for the fall. You can even just take a few hours while you’re lying on the beach to scour Pinterest or a blog to see new teaching strategies or ideas and save them to your account for later. As the fall starts to creep closer, then you can add more school prep plans to your summer to-do list.

The best way to maximize your time this summer is to make a summer plan that includes the four categories mentioned above. Take time out to spend with your family, practice self-care, grow your professional development skills and prep for the following year. This way, you get the opportunity to refuel your brain, relax your brain, and train your brain.

What are your summer to do list? Do you have a professional development plan, or do you just plan on relaxing?

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master’s of Science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the elementary education expert for for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at