By Teachers, For Teachers
One of the best things about being a teacher is getting the summers off. After a full year of being what feels like a surrogate parent to your students, summer vacation is a much-needed time to recharge and refocus your intentions, not to mention relax. Here are a few ideas on how you can make the most of your summer vacation away from the classroom.
First and foremost, you must start the summer off by doing something nice for yourself. This can be something as simple as getting a manicure or a massage, or something more extravagant like splurging on a trip. Taking care of yourself and putting yourself first (probably for the first time all year) will help you lead a fulfilling life. It will also help you recharge so that you will be ready for the next school year.
How many times have you said to yourself that you were going to try that yoga class or painting class? Why not try it now? Summer is the best time to get out of your comfort zone and try something new and exciting. Expand your horizons and get out there and take that exercise class, enroll in piano lessons, or take up that hobby that you have always dreamed about. Now is the time to do it.
The 21st century is all about technology, as it keeps growing, so should you. Keep up-to-date on all of the latest gadgets and digital devices so that in the fall you will be knowledgeable and ready to implement whatever new tech tool the school district throws at you. Read the news, follow a few blogs and stay informed about your profession. If you’re passionate about technology in the classroom then find a way to get involved.
Teaching is one of those professions that inspires people. As a teacher you are an inspiration, not only to your students but to others as well. In order for you to inspire people, you need to be inspired. One way to do that is to read inspirational books, or watch inspiring movies. Search the Internet for quotes that are encouraging or moving, or visit a museum or speak with a motivational speaker. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your profession that sometimes you may forget why you even become a teacher. Use the summer as an opportunity to rediscover why you were meant for this job.
Self-reflection is a valuable tool that can benefit everyone. Teaching can be a very challenging profession, and having the ability to self-reflect upon your year will only help you refocus your goals for the future. Ask yourself some tough questions like “Where did I fail this year, and where did I succeed?” Or “How can I make learning more fun?” Take these questions and examine your teaching. Be mindful that every year is a new beginning and if you find that you had a tough year, remember that with each New Year is a fresh start.
Even though teachers have nights and weekends off during the school year, they really don’t have nights and weekends off. Those times are meant to be for themselves and family, but we all know that they end up being spent grading papers, looking up lesson plans, and planning for the week ahead. Summer vacation is the time to really send time with the people that mean the most to you. Take this time to play, laugh, and enjoy your family. Take a walk with your children, go to the movies with your grandmother, and plan a weekend catching up with your old high school friends. Use this summer to enjoy the people around you.
Truthfully, as much as we try and relax and recharge during the summer months, most teachers still are involved in education-related tasks all summer long. If it’s not teaching summer school, tutoring, adding to their class library, or learning new technology, then it’s going on teaching blogs or thinking of new ways to set up their classroom for the next year. When you’re a teacher, thinking like a teacher never goes away. Just because June has come and summer has arrived doesn’t mean that you can turn your teaching brain off. Make sure that you do at least a few of the tips mentioned above, because it’s quite imperative to take some time for yourself so you don’t get teacher burnout.
How do you make the most of your summer vacation? Do you have any tips that help you maximize your summer so you can recharge and refocus for the next school year? Please share them with us in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
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 also the elementary education expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or visit her website at Empoweringk6educators.