It’s May! Summer is Coming!

by Deana Swanson


Photo by corina ardeleanu on Unsplash

While I do love teaching and enjoy my job greatly, it is stressful being responsible for little humans all day, and one of the perks of being a teacher is having the summer “off.” (In many ways, it’s not really “off,” because we usually find ourselves preparing, planning, and participating in teacher enrichment types of activities.)

So, May is here and summer is coming. What will you do with your time off? Here are several options and suggestions for ways you can spend those precious three months you’ve got coming up soon.

Rest and relax. We are responsible for our students about seven hours a day, and that can be stressful even if we really enjoy what we do. If you’ve ever been a secretary, cashier, or builder, you know the difference. Take a few days or a week to just relax and spend time doing things you love to do but don’t always have time for during the school year.

Set some educational goals for next year. I look for the area I’m weakest in and work on that. One year it was teaching science, another year it was art, and this year I think it’s going to be organization. Read books, research and get ideas, ask other teachers questions, and work on improving that area of need.

Plan some teacher enrichment activities. This is always one of my favorites. I plan to go to seminars, camps, museums. I usually try to travel to at least one new place. I want to have more knowledge and experience next year than I did this year. I want to have more interesting stories to tell my students, and I want to model for them what it’s like to be a lifelong learner.

At the beginning of August (or earlier if you’re ready and in the mood), go into your classroom and gather any new books you’ll be using. Plan to take them home where you can look them over at your leisure. Sit at your teacher’s desk for a while and look around, visualizing where you might move desks, furniture, or a bookshelf.

Gather materials. Go through the science book and gather everything you will need for every experiment and put it in a bin to take to your classroom later. I also try to find brain games, interesting books and puzzles, or science or history items to add to my classroom.

Plan and prep. About two weeks before school starts, I like to make sure I have my ducks in a row. I double-check all the books and tests and make sure I have everything I need. I like to figure out how many pages I would need to cover in a day in order to finish the books by the end of the year. I’m not a “book finisher,” and I will gladly stop, slow down, or back up if my students are not comprehending what I’m teaching them, but I have found that usually we can indeed finish our books on time if we stay on track and focused all year round, and don’t get sidetracked with all kinds of bunny trails and waste time in class.

The summer months fly by, but if we have a plan, set some goals, and use our time wisely, we can make the most of them. We can feel relaxed, refreshed, organized, and ready to go in August if we spend our summer months well. Happy summer!

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CONTRIBUTOR: Deana Swanson

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