You Made It!
Kick off your shoes and pat yourself on the back because you have made it through another year! There were some crazy things this year, as has become the new normal, but I hope you found a lot of joy in your work as an educator! You’ve put twelve months worth of work into ten months so you deserve this time off! So what’s the best way to spend your summer before starting back up in two months? I have some great tips for things I try to prioritize during my summer months that help me feel rested and ready to tackle a new year.
Reflect on the Year
Reflection is a huge part of being a teacher. I had a principal that once said, “As soon as you believe you’ve perfected your teaching, it’s time to retire. Teachers are always learning, growing, and improving.” This has stuck with me and is a big part of why I try to reflect on each year of teaching. First, focus on your successes! You just finished educating twenty and most likely more children and teens. That’s amazing! Regardless of what your end of year test grades might say, you have helped each student grow this year and that deserves to be celebrated.
Once you’re done recognizing how much good you did this year, take some time to reflect on some of the things that could be improved for next year. Is it pacing, a particular unit, classroom management, a new technology you want to implement, a new book you read? There are lots of simple ways to improve that can make a big impact. My suggestion is to pick 1-3 things to improve for next year. I usually pick one or two subjects that I want to improve on and focus on those. If you choose too many things to improve, you could end up feeling overwhelmed.
Unplug and Unwind
Make sure that you spend adequate time away from work this summer! This is essential to help prevent teacher burnout and for your own well being. Spend time with friends and family. Make memories! Go on vacation. Unplug from technology and the negativity that can be found in the world and profession and find some inner peace. I love spending time going on hikes with my family as being in nature brings me peace. Find whatever helps you feel centered and energized.
As teachers, we often forget to take care of ourselves because our lives are so consumed by taking care of all our littles and middles. Taking care of our bodies can sometimes take the back burner. Summer is a great time to make taking care of ourselves a priority and try to form great habits to take with us when the school year starts again. It could be something as simple as taking a 15 minute walk a day or you could choose to follow a workout schedule. I love following a workout routine that incorporates yoga and stretching as that helps me feel energized.
I love reading but unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time for reading during the school year. Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading! Try to find some time this summer to read for pleasure. It is much easier to help children see the benefits of reading and instill a love of reading in them, when we are readers ourselves. I love to choose a few books that I think my students would like and try to read those as well. This is a great way to catch up on what kids are reading and maybe even add some great books to your curriculum next year.
You can also spend some time reading for professional development. Find a book with a new strategy you would like to try or something you struggled with this year. I know for me my book list is always much longer each summer than I could ever get through. Listening to books can be a great way to help you get some summer reading in while still accomplishing the other things you need to!
Do What Makes You Happy
Lastly, make sure to spend a decent amount of time doing whatever it is that brings you joy! Indulge in a new hobby or maybe even find a new hobby! Spend time with the ones you love and create fun memories. Take time for yourself and take care to get lots of rest so that your body and mind will be ready to take on a new year. And don’t forget to slow down. For the next two months, this time is yours so sit down and sip your coffee slowly while it’s hot. You deserve it!