Teachers work so hard throughout the year and often tirelessly for their students. Here are 9 things teachers should do over the summer!
A teacher's mind never turns off. Never. It's always going. Creating to-do-lists, working on these lists, and then creating more lists. We obsess over changes we will make next year. How will we set up our room? What theme will our room be? How much do we need to save to buy more stuff for our classroom? Check out these #summergoals and let us know what we should add.
As soon as school gets out, it's catch up time. We all put things off the last month of school. There is that infamous pile of crap staring at you when you get home everyday or a ridiculous amount of boxes from school stacked in random places. You quit grocery shopping and have been doing take-out every day. Your car needs an oil change and the kids need dentist appointments. It's game time! So, catch up. Don't put off everything you have put on the back burner the last month of school. I know you are tired, but don't let that crap pile on the counter loom over you this summer. Take the first week and plan to do something every day. Knock it out! Whatever is out of control, conquer it. You don't need anything hanging over your head or stealing your joy this summer. You've got much-needed fun and relaxation coming!
Yes, you read that correctly. Let's be honest. I am sure you can't remember the last time you slept a good eight hours or even took a nap. Here is your chance. Go wild and sleep eight hours straight. Better yet, get rid of that stupid alarm. No one likes that guy anyway. You just slap him around each morning, pressing snooze ten times. It's time to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Say goodbye to those bags under your eyes!
I know, you don't want anyone to tell you to step away from that can of soda or gallon of ice cream, but I am going to level with you. If you are like me and you stress eat, then your body probably has been put through the ringer over the school year. Real talk, I gained 25 pounds this year! I am SO embarrassed to say that, but it's the truth. So, let's get back in the kitchen and cook some real food. No more fast food! It's time to slow down and take care of ourselves. Fruits and vegetables are our friends. It's no secret that when we eat healthy and fuel our body with the stuff it needs, our bodies thank us by giving us more energy, better sleep, and just overall sense of wellness. I'll be posting some of my favorite exercises and clean eating recipes with you this summer, so we can encourage each another on this journey!
Gulp. Don't hate me. I know, we never sit down at school. Teaching is a lot of work but it's not actually exercise. If my husband reads this, I'm going to be in big trouble because I always tell him school counts as exercise, and he disagrees. Ha! He is right, though. I look at the summer as training for the school year. By May, my endurance is in the toilet, and I am surviving solely on caffeine. I need to get back into a routine so I can build my stamina back up. I also feel SO MUCH BETTER when I exercise. Exercise looks different for everyone. It may be just walking around your neighborhood for thirty minutes, and that it totally okay. Y'all, if I am running, you know someone is chasing me, so you better call 911. Ha! Seriously though, figure out what you enjoy. During the summer, I love to swim. I also love strength training. Find a friend to exercise with. I personally NEED an accountability partner. I also put in my headphones and crank up Pandora's Hip Hop Workout. That's my jam, y'all!
Read. Not just to learn something, but for fun. Alternate books. Reading for professional development is great (because let's be honest, there isn't time during the school year), but also read for yourself. A Bible study, book study, murder mystery, or some hot steamy romance. No judgement here. Whatever your heart's desire, do it! I personally will hop between a Bible study, some type of fertility book (to be determined), and a good amount of gossip magazines. Yes, my guilty pleasure is People or US Weekly. Ridiculous I know, but it's my way of unplugging from all the things.
Take a Vaca or Stayca
Go on a vacation or plan a staycation. Money may be tight, but you don't need money to create experiences. If you can afford to go on a cruise, do it! If not, plan a camp out in your backyard, or get a local hotel room for a night and plan a slumber party with your BFFs. Wear your pj's, eat junk food, wear ridiculous facial masks, and laugh until you almost wet your pants. Oh, and wine. You need wine. Go on an adventure to somewhere local that you haven't been to yet. Maybe a new food truck, swimming hole, or rent a kayak. Give yourself and your family the gift of experiences and time. You pour so much into your work throughout the year. It's time to fill yourself up and make memories with the ones you love. They often get the leftovers. I don't know about you, but I couldn't eat leftovers every night. The same thing is true for what we give our families at the end of each day. So, vaca or stayca, but plan it. Do it!
Yup. I said it. But listen, let's not get out of control here. We all go to summer PD. Conferences are a great way to learn and grow. I personally LOVE every minute at Frog Street SPLASH! Not only is it fun, but I learn SO much. Most of us also read something to grow an area of weakness. I like working some in the summer because it's on my terms, it's quiet, and there are minimal distractions. Where this becomes an issue is when you spend your entire summer in a classroom and have no real break. It's always easy to see who does that because those teachers feel like they didn't get a “break” because guess what, they didn't. And they burn out fast. Because they are tired. Because they didn't disconnect. It's important! Try to limit your work to once a week. Make a list for that day and hit the ground running. When you leave your classroom or finish your list at home, walk away. It's hard to be filled to overflowing if everything you put in gets immediately poured out. So, yes, it is okay for you to work during the summer (not that you need my permission, ha), but I really encourage you to find BALANCE. I'm quite certain our mental health depends on it. Ha!
You can also take time to prep items for next year. Two summers ago, I prepped all of my Early Finisher Tubs for the year. It was an undertaking, but boy was it worth it. Looking ahead to the upcoming year, I would focus on one thing you know you need or would use to make your life easier. I was always that crazy teacher that had my calendar ready for August before I left in June or had all of my student notebooks prepped for the next school year before walking away for the summer.
Here are a few resources you may find worth prepping this summer!
(Read more about it here.)
Early Finisher Bundle
(Read more about these here.)
Most importantly, have fun. Laugh. Sing. Play. Whatever makes you happy, do it! Stay up late. Go to the movies. Go on a wine tour. Visit family or friends. Laughter is THE best medicine.
Don't let past mistakes steal future JOY!
Maybe you had a hard school year and you feel broken or discouraged. Guess what? Just like our students get a fresh start each day, so do YOU! Don't be wrapped up in the “could have, should have, would have” nonsense. We could ALL have done things differently. Maybe we should have spent more time on something. Listen. We are all learning and growing right along with our students and no one is perfect. It doesn't matter how long you have been teaching, you can't be a teacher without being a life learner. Just like parenting, we are going to make mistakes, but we grow from them. My oldest always gets upset with me because I am not as strict on my younger two or go all “crazy mom” on them as much as I did with her. I remind her that it's not a competition and that I am not perfect. I learned a lot (and am still learning daily) by parenting her, and there are things I have tried to change because I didn't like how I handled them with her. That's completely honest. I can say the same thing for my life in the classroom. So, don't let past mistakes steal future JOY! You've got a lot to give. If you are in this profession, it's because you have been called to it for a reason. There is so much purpose to your life in the classroom. Just like there is so much purpose to a few weeks off during the summer. It's necessary to disconnect, rebuild, and renew our spirits. God knows exactly what you need so you can give exactly what each child needs during next school year. Don't let worry and stress keep you from experiences and blessings of new adventures this summer.
Happy summer, friends! Enjoy it because you EARNED it and you DESERVE it!
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Excellent post 😃
My #1 goal is to find “me”. I’m doing a 6 credit Practicum for my Literacy Master’s in June and we report back on Aug. 8. I know the summer will fly! I’m actually thankful that we are not allowed in the school until that day; I’d be the teacher that never got a break!
Loved the list! I’ve experienced the past mistakes moment and worked very hard to convince myself it wasn’t all me. One of my goals this summer is to do more fun things with my youngest before he enters high school. As a mom/teacher, I always feel like I neglect him the most. I’m glad to know that I pretty much keep my summers balanced! 😊
Great advice! Enjoy your summer!
Great post! I also gained about 25 pounds this past year! UGH! I am a total stress eater too. So healthy eating and exercise at the top of my list along with family time and several beach days! Have a great summer!
Susan L. Czajowski says
This is a great article that really hits home! It is very well written and very to the point. You know how you can’t do things until someone give you permission? This article is my permission! Thank you so much for this!
Thank you for this! I have been totally stressing and feeling guilty sitting around and catching up on my reading for pleasure. I have so much to do! I’m exhausted just thinking about it!
Cassie Swanson says
Such a great article! I like that you shared keeping the balance! Educators have the best job in the world! Many times we put ourselves last during the year so it’s ok to make yourself a priority in the summer! If you are feeling down about the weight gain, I love this awesome all natural supplement that helps regulate blood sugars, levels cholesterol, helps suppress my appetite and burns fat! If your interested in checking it out here is a link: http://www.shopmyplexus.com/cswanson ! It has helped me lose that unwanted weight and gain lots of energy! Hope this may be helpful to someone! Have a great summer!!!!
Or you could teach summer school in addition to the second job you have to find in order to pay bills for the next two or three months. That’s fun, too. It’s what I’ll be doing!