As another academic year draws to a close, I cannot believe summer is only 5 work days away (6 if you count our last teacher planning day)!!! I’ve been teaching for 5 years now and I feel (and hope) that each year I grow a little bit more knowledgable and savvy about my craft. I know popular opinion out there is that “Oh teaching is such a sweet gig. I wish I had summers off too!”. While that may be true for a few weeks, after about a month there are serious things that need to be done in order to prepare for the next upcoming school year. I know that this summer, in particular, I have changed my vacation plans at least 3 different times. So I thought I’d turn to the trusty interwebs for help in solidifying my summer plans using some questions from About.com.
- Get away from it all…Summer is probably the only time when a teacher gets to escape from his or her role as an educator. Multiple times this year I’ve been out with my friends at a restaurant or having a casual drink with friends and have bumped into students with their families. Therefore in order to truly escape I’ve already starting planning trips to visit one of my besties in Ohio (where she got a new job working for Ford, this past year) and to the Alabama countryside to visit family friends.
- Try something new…Like I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to try out yoga. I took a class once in college and felt like such a dork I couldn’t keep from laughing and smirking the entire class. Hopefully, I won’t do the same this time around – but I feel like it would help me recharge and find my center as I prepare to tackle new challenges next year.
- Do something just for yourself…I recently got out of a long term relationship, therefore I plan on spending as much time as I can surrounded by my friends and family. I’ve been widening my network of colleagues and friends, going out, and getting recommendations on new restaurants and local haunts I’d love to try out. I also went to a great spa earlier this year, I’m planning on taking my besties and cousins for a “girls day out” for pampering and lounging 😉
- Reflect on last year’s teaching experiences…As with most educators, it’s sometimes difficult to remember the successes rather than the failures. It’s human nature. However, this past year I feel that I have really perfected my curriculum for my introductory/elective Broadcasting course. The transition time between topics went really well. So well, I was able to let them participate in our program’s short film festival. Some of their work was actually more creative than the level two students. Challenges for next year will probably focus on creating a magnet level curriculum for both the middle & high school students (which I’ve already started working on) and creating a conducive working environment for both middle and high school students to work in. Squabbles between the two groups (my 7th & 8th graders) often occur this year. I’m hoping they’ll mature more over the summer.
- Be informed about your profession…I’m not one to get involved in politics. Sure I’ve signed petitions, but I’ve never participated in a protest. They’re actually against our contract.
- Maintain your expertise…However, I do plan on furthering my education with either a doctorate or specialist degree. I recently earned a masters degree this past December in secondary social studies curriculum. Since, I entered the education field without any formal education background I feel that these degrees and summer professional development opportunities keep me in the proverbial education “loop”.
- Choose a few lessons to improve…I’m actually working on rewriting and finding new Civics lessons for next year. However, I won’t know if I really teach that next year until the week before school. I know, the perilous world of teaching. It’s a tough world. But for sure I know I have to write new lessons for next year’s Broadcasting classes for my 8th/9th grade combination course. One class with two lesson plans…teaching is fun! I hope you caught the sarcasm there 😉
- Assess your classroom procedures…Next year, as our school is expanding to a 6-12 grade model, I have been looking for different ways to “upgrade” my classroom. I want to create a space that would work for both the middle and high school students, without pandering to one group over the other. I’ve created a board on Pinterest with a collection of classroom ideas, board samples, and other classroom procedures that would work best with high school students.
- Inspire yourself…A couple years summers ago, I read “The End of Molasses Classes” by Ron Clark. I felt so energized and ready to tackle the new school year I started planning for the upcoming school year a full two weeks earlier than I usually did. I’m hoping through my book challenges, writing this blog, and following educational blogs I’ll find the inspiration I need to gear up for next year. If you know of any great inspirational teaching books or films, please let me know in the comments!
- Take a colleague to lunch…Every summer, my colleagues and I try to get together for a happy hour or lunch. My favorite person to get together with is my mentor teacher, from my first year of teaching. Oddly enough, she wasn’t supposed to me my mentor. My mentor worked in the reading department, while I was part of social studies. So this older, spunky teacher – Jo Ann – took me under her wing. Her sarcasm and quick wit helped me a lot during my first year of teaching. She always knew what to say and if she didn’t know something would always guide me to someone who did.
Hope you all are able to enjoy your summer! Maybe this helped inspire you to do something you haven’t done before this summer, whether you’re a teacher or not. Even if you don’t get actual summers off from work, take a week or even a weekend to escape your normal day-to-day routine and do something fun for yourself 🙂