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What Teachers Really Do Over Summer Break

Outside the Box Teaching Ideas


What Teachers Really Do Over Summer BreakTeachers work really hard, and while most of the world would have you believe we are so lucky to have summers off, I wonder how many teachers actually TAKE the summer off. I don't.

There is always a new curriculum to learn (especially with all the changes going on), new assessments and programs, new lessons, new methods, professional development, and planning. I also tutor (as do many of my collegues) during the summer, participate in summer programs, and try to catch up on reading the latest educational blogs, sourcing pinterest, and reading twitter comments.

However, with just a handful of days left until another school year comes to an end, I thought it would be fun to have students write down what they think teachers do during the summer break. I loved the responses so much that I had to share the most creative answers!

In addition to my student responses about teachers' summer activities, this list also contains what I told my students about what teachers really do over the summer (or at least what I do).

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Without further adieu, here is my list of what teachers REALLY do over the summer break.


Teachers go to the beach, but hide behind other people or bury themselves in the sand whenever they see their students!

This really made me laugh. Not only do I love to go to the beach, as it is my favorite place to sit and read,  I also love running into former students (well MOST former students). I think most teachers enjoy seeing their students outside of the classroom. We don't have to be “the teacher” and they are not “the student,” just Mrs. Conway and Hannah.

As for hiding or burying myself in the sand, I have discovered I get very little acknowledgement when reading on the beach, as most students tend to turn away from anyone reading a book - it reminds them too much of school!

Teachers dream about next year's class, and hope they will not be annoying.

Well, I don't know about the annoying part, but I am pretty sure every teacher has had a dream or two about the coming year's class and what they may be like. Just like we also have dreams of missing deadlines, confrontations with unhappy parents, a poor observation or review, and even the occassional going-to-school-not-fully-dressed dreams. Maybe that last one was just me!

Teachers keep track of the days until school starts again because they miss it so much!

While teachers are good at keeping track of days, and knowing just how many we have remaining during the school year, I don't know too many teachers who have a “I can't wait until school starts again” countdown calendar hanging on their refrigerator. Most teachers welcome a few weeks to gather themselves (recoup if you will), and prepare for the following year.

We may not have a calendar starting the count down right after school, but I am willing to bet there are those who do know how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds they have left until the first day of school! (Again, maybe just me! I am one of those who knows, but I don't start counting until the second week of August!).

When teachers cannot sleep, they stay up thinking of brain washing techniques and ways to torture their students!

A lot of imagination here! If lesson plans, activities, projects, and possibly long term assignments are torture,  then I am guilty.

If I can't sleep because I have idea after idea of what I can do the coming year, I will get up and write them down. I keep a notebook nearby so I can jot down things before I forget them. As for brain washing, well, if I could find a technique that will allow me to suggest a few things, I admit I might use it to get my students to read more, love math, write more, or simply enjoy learning more.

Teachers take down student papers, look at them one by one, and cry their eyes out because they are going to miss their class.

I admit, I have cried. Last year, our school closed (as many do nowadays) and the entire student body created a video tribute to the teachers. It was so touching and moving that I couldn't help but shed a tear or two or three (ok, I was bawling). Aside from thiat, I have not cried over my students moving on because I knew they were going to do terrific in the next grade. I was blessed to have been part of the journey they took to get to that next level.

Sometimes. I will review student work and enjoy the walk down memory lane. I have albums from each year, or journals I occasionally pull out and view as part of my personal reflection process. I will miss all my students, but I know a new group will be coming soon and, together, we can create new, wonderful memories.

Teachers have a secret hide-out where they meet once a week with other teachers to plan our doom!

I do have a hide-out, but I don't think it is a secret. I love the teacher store, any book store, and of course, Dunkin Donuts - no big secret with the DD - it is on my desk every morning!

I do hang out with other teachers outside of school, but it is usually at a restaurant, the movies, or someone's home. There is always talk of school, but we try to keep it limited. As for planning, as sinister as I think this student thinks our meetings may be, they are really not! Yes, we may talk about Johnny or Susie and what to expect, but no real evil plotting is happening. Besides, teachers are people, too. We love to hang out with our friends and have fun!

Teachers figure out a theme for next year, get supplies, and decorate the classroom in the theme.

This is pretty close to what I do. I haven't really changed my classroom theme over the years. I love frogs and so I have a frog theme: posters, knick-knacks, etc. I will plan a supply list for things that need to be replaced or updated, and will come in early to prepare the classroom.

Sometimes, I will make things over the summer for the classroom, such as a cart skirt, bulletin board pictures, or student folders but, for the most part, the theme and decor is all set.

Teachers relax on a secret island where there are no kids!

Does such a place exist? I don't think I would want to stay there long. Maybe a short visit! An island without kids sounds great at first, but with whom would I share the next great adventure from 39 Clues? By the time June rolls around, I am sure it may appear I am ready to “get rid of my students" but, truth be told, I'm really going to miss the humor, the activities, the discussions, and the learning that transpired all year long.

And Lastly,

Teachers have a big party celebrating the end of school!

Summer's arrival generates a sense of excitement, so a little celebration is expected. After all, my students and I worked together side by side for 180 days. That's 180 days, multiplied by seven hours a day...for a total of 1260 hours! That's a lot of work! We deserve a little celebration!


I enjoyed having the class share what they think we do over the summer. Very creative bunch.

Now, you tell me: what do you do during your summer break? Leave your replies in the comments section, below.

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