As the end of the school year approaches, a big question on my mind is: what should I do this summer? I asked all the veteran teachers I know for their suggestions and compiled a summer bucket list.
1. Reconnect with friends and family: Traveling to see college friends and family can be difficult during the school year. Take some time in the summer to spend quality moments with your loved ones. Discover and celebrate all the awesome stuff other people are doing!
2. Start a new hobby: Were you secretly jealous of another teacher who found time to do yoga in the morning every day all last year? The summer can be a great time to start new hobbies or explore new interests. Give yourself a running start, and they can become a regular part of your life come August.
3. Do you: Outside of seeing friends and trying new things, the summer is also an excellent time to take your mind off work. This looks different for different people. You may only want a week away, you may need longer, or you may just spend a few hours doing your favorite things every day. Whatever the case, get yourself revitalized and refreshed for your next batch of kiddos.
4. Revisit your “why”: Being able to step back and see your mission in a big-picture view can really get your fire going. In fact, your past year has probably shaped and evolved your why. If you write down your “why,” your vision, or your goals, take some time to reflect and edit them to fit the new you. Remind yourself why you do this really important work.
5. Look for professional development opportunities: You’d be surprised how many organizations offer one-day or weekend conferences for teachers during the summer. These can be great places to keep in touch with new strategies, fill in personal growth areas, network with other educators, and feel inspired.
6. Make deliverables: When forced to choose between lesson planning and deliverables, almost every veteran I talked to suggested the latter. Why? Copies, crafts, presentations, and presents eat up a lot of your time during the school year. Lesson planning will go faster as you master your craft, and the formatting your school requires may change year to year. Getting the busy work done early will be more beneficial in the long run.
7. Teach summer school: Summer slump can be as real for teachers as it is for students. Summer school may be a less stressful place to develop and hone your craft.
8. Add detail to your long-term plans: While it may not be fruitful to create lesson plans over the summer, you may consider bigger-picture planning: unpacking standards, scope and sequencing, long-term planning, and unit planning.
9. Prepare for field trips: There were so many cool trip opportunities I heard about too late during the year. Secure spots, make reservations, and research opportunities during the summer to make sure you are ready to go come next year.
10. Reflect: Reflect on your reflections. Then reflect on how you are reflecting on your reflections. Just kidding – just reflect. Reflect on your students, your year, your attitude, your personal life, your glows, your grows and anything else that will help you be a better educator come August. This post was originally published on TeacherPop. It has been republished here with permission from the author.
Cody Wilson is a 2014 Indianapolis Teach for America Corps Member and founding kindergarten teacher at KIPP: Indy Unite Elementary. Cody Wilson is originally from the Circle City and graduated with his B.A. from Purdue University-West Lafayette.