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Summer Break: Training in the Off-Season

Annie Condron


Training in the Off-SeasonFor those teachers who aren’t teaching summer school, late June through early August are the best weeks of the year. No homework to track down from students, no lesson plans or evenings spent grading, no school bells punctuating the day. 

Busy days at school transform into busy days at home, either taking care of your family or working a summer job or daily trips to the pool. Pretty soon, you’ll wonder how you ever got anything done while you spent all day at school.

While students tend to forget everything they’ve learned over the summer, teachers can also let their skills sit idle for the three months of summer break. Here are a few tips to help you stay sharp as an educator over summer break.

Take a Breather

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Don’t even look at your school books for two weeks. It’s been a long year and you’ve earned this break. No guilt. No looking back. 

Stretch Yourself

Take this opportunity to do something you never have time for during the year. It can be far too easy to fall into a routine during the summer and let time pass you by. Have you always wanted to travel, get published in an education publication, write a short story or novel, learn a second language, see every free concert offered in your city, train for a marathon or triathlon, or become the Guinness World Record Holder for most pencils balanced behind your ears? Well, now is the time. Use this time away from school to check items off your “to do” list for life. 


Setting a Training Schedule

Like training for a marathon, you should look ahead and set summer goals for yourself. Once you’ve set those goals, write down benchmarks you’d like to reach every week or two. Writing down small goals will keep you from procrastinating and finding your August self wondering what ever happened to your big summer plans. 


You can work up an intellectual sweat, even during the summer. As a rule, trade off on one fun book for every semi-educational book you read. This will keep your mind sharp throughout the summer and allow you to explore themes and ideas for the next school year. For every gossip and sports magazine, make yourself read a teacher magazine or newsletter. For every trip to Perez or facebook, stop by to stay in touch with the latest news from the K-12 world.

Find a Spotter

Stay in touch with a few colleagues and teacher friends while you’re on break. Not only can you take hang out while all non-teachers are at work, but getting together every few weeks will help keep those relationships fresh and make you look forward to spending your days together again. You can also share your summer goals and keep each other on track.

Warming Up

As the school year creeps closer, force yourself to go back into the classroom and get some planning done. Maybe just a few short visits to work back up to the first day of school, or spending a few hours here and there at the library getting your units and plans together. Breaking through that physical barrier may make the back-to-school transition that much less traumatizing.

  How do you stay in fit teaching form over the summer break? Share in the comments section!