During summer break, it’s time for us to recharge, reflect, and gear up for the upcoming school year. So, while it’s crucial to take a breather and enjoy some well-deserved time off, we can’t ignore the immense value of using the break for a little professional development and preparation. Here are seven things that we, as teachers, can do this summer to ensure we hit the ground running when school starts again.
Reflect on the Previous Year
Take a moment to reflect on the past school year. Think about what worked well in your classroom and areas where you can improve. This past year, I really enjoyed having a soft start to the day. (See how a soft start works in my room HERE!) It was a great way to build a sense of calm and community with my students. This is something I will definitely be doing again next year. One thing that I’d like to change is my class jobs. After a few months, I noticed many jobs were not consistently getting done. So, this summer I’ll be brainstorming/researching how to improve my system. I also want to include more spiral review for math as I found my students would forget concepts as the year went on. So, I’ll be looking for a resource that can help me with that. By evaluating student performance, engagement strategies, and classroom management techniques, you can gain valuable insights to help you make informed decisions and grow as an educator.
Explore New Resources
Summer is the perfect time to explore new educational resources. Think about your year and where you need extra activities to fill in the gaps. My premium membership is a great place to start if you teach K-3 and love easy to use activities that engage your students. I’ve got hundreds of math and reading resources available for you to download when you become a member.
Develop or Enhance Lesson Plans
During the summer break, invest some quality time into developing or enhancing your lesson plans. By reviewing and refining existing lessons, we can make them more impactful, engaging, and aligned with our learning objectives. Can you incorporate project-based learning or collaborative activities to promote student-centered instruction? By creating well-structured lesson plans in advance, you can save precious time during the school year.
Collaborate with Colleagues
Summer gives us the chance to connect with our fellow educators. You can reach out to colleagues within your school or district to share ideas, resources, and best practices. You can join and engage in online teacher communities, like a Facebook group for your grade or subject. There’s a group out there for everyone – just search for it! The power of collaboration will not only inspire you but also foster your professional growth, creating a supportive network of like-minded peers.
Engage in Professional Reading
Select books, research articles, or educational blogs that resonate with your interests and goals. Dive into topics such as pedagogy, classroom management, differentiation, or social-emotional learning. “One hour per day of study in your chosen field is all it takes. One hour per day of study will put you at the top of your field within three years. Within five years you’ll be a national authority. In seven years, you can be one of the best people in the world at what you do.” — Earl Nightingale
Here’s what’s on my summer reading list:
Explore Technology Tools
Staying on top of the latest technology tools is essential for us to provide the best learning experiences for our students. Summer is the ideal time to explore educational apps, websites, and online platforms that align with your curriculum. By familiarizing yourself with these resources over the summer, you’ll be more prepared to integrate them seamlessly into our classrooms.
Last but definitely not least, don’t forget to prioritize self-care. Summer break offers us the chance to relax, recharge, and indulge in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment. Engage in hobbies and spend quality time with friends and family. I love a good daily checklist to help make sure I’m getting things done, but still keeping the right balance between work and rest! Remember, taking care of ourselves allows us to better support our students’ well-being and create a positive classroom environment.
Now is the time to invest in your professional growth and set the stage for a successful school year ahead. Through self-reflection, exploring new resources, collaborating with peers, engaging in professional reading, embracing technology tools, and prioritizing self-care, you can ensure your teaching practices shine brightly and inspire your students’ potential. Happy summer friends!