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No one appreciates summer more than a teacher. Those hard-earned summer months mark a break from alarm clocks set for 5 am, stacks of papers to grade, rowdy students, and cramped classrooms. But for teachers, the work doesn’t stop with the end of the school year. (Top Summer Jobs for Teachers)
There is so much to think about before September rolls back around: next year’s curriculum, the needs of your new students, buying supplies, and keeping up to speed on the constant pedagogical and assessment changes. With all of these things running through your head, it’s easy to forget about you. To guide you during your productive (and hopefully relaxing) summer, here are some tips to help you build upon your teaching skills for next year and make the most out of your time away from the classroom:
1. Connect with Your Teaching Community
Take some time this summer to rekindle your passion for teaching. Speak with your fellow colleagues about your dreams for the upcoming school year, follow some of your favorite educational experts on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter (Top 500 Twitter Accounts for Teachers), and watch motivating educational videos on Ted Talks.
Here are a few examples of inspiring, entertaining Ted Talks you might enjoy:
How to Escape Education’s Death Valley
Every Kid Needs a Champion
How School Kills Creativity
2. Keep Up With the Tech World
When it comes to technology, change is the only constant. This summer is a perfect time to catch up on the newest technology for the classroom. Promethean Planet is a great source for free, interactive whiteboard resources. You can also read up on the 32 Most Innovative Online Educational Tools to Use in 2015 for new ways to cut down on grading time, creatively assess student understanding, and engage your students.
3. Get Funded
Have you thought of some amazing field trips, projects, or resources for next year, but don’t have the money to make them a reality? DonorsChoose is an innovative charitable organization that allows teachers to request funding for classroom materials or activities and then individuals, small businesses, and corporations from all over the country can choose their favorite projects to fund (in whole or in part). To date, over 328 million dollars have been raised for more than 235,000 teachers! Look out for a special partnership between Advancement Courses and Donors Choose this fall.
After a stressful year, you may need a kick of positive energy and that’s where volunteering comes in. Volunteering is a great way to help your community and it just feels good. Many local libraries or community organizations need volunteers to teach English to adult immigrants or recreation classes for kids. Or you can get your hands dirty with Habitat for Humanity (never underestimate how good it feels to build something after a long school year). You can also consider becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister or being a mentor to a youth in your community. If you’re not quite sure what you want to do, you can check out Volunteer Match, which will match your skills, schedule, and location with an organization.
5. Become a Student (Outside of the Classroom)
To help prepare you for an even better year of teaching, take a course or expand your horizons by learning a new language. Some libraries offer free language lessons and you can even take language classes online.
6. Rejuvenate Yourself
Last, but certainly not least, summer break is meant for you to recharge your batteries, reflect on your achievements during the school year, and get excited about teaching again. No matter how you plan to spend the summer, you should take this time to shake off the stresses of last year, soak in the quiet, and treat yourself to some well-deserved R&R. It will leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the new year head on. Most of all, you deserve it!
What are your plans for the summer?