Seven ways to use the summer to prepare for next semester
For every teacher who returns exhausted and sunburned after the summer vacation, there’s another who seems happier and more organized than ever. How do they do it? Well, you’ll be happy to know it’s not an impossible dream. Here are seven ways to use your vacation time to kick start next semester (without feeling like you’re still at school!).
1. Don’t expect too much of yourself
We know you’re an award-winning multitasker (it comes with the teaching territory) but summer is not the time to be overzealous. The first step? Resist the urge to compose a to-do list longer than your arm. You know the jobs we’re talking about: seeing family, organizing the pantry, deep cleaning the house, planning play dates, and generally weeding, pruning, or polishing everything in your life (both literally and figuratively). Go ahead and tackle a few of these tasks – but don’t exhaust yourself in the process
2. Go on a smart vacation
If there’s one thing most hardworking professionals want to do during the summer, it’s go on vacation. But what if you could start the next semester with a relaxed beach glow and a some shiny new language skills to boot? Enter the smart vacation: language study and a mini break all wrapped up in a single getaway.
3. Educate yourself
While there are too many great online resources for teachers to list here, what’s sure is that you can easily fill up your tablet with excellent blogs, podcasts, articles, tips, and sites to help you tackle next semester with vigor. Start with our archive – then continue exploring.
4. Dream up a new position
If the time has come to move on, summer is a great time to do it. Change the sun for snow, the city for the country, or the Northern Hemisphere for southern lands. Many academies post openings on their websites (ours are here!) – but don’t forget to check on LinkedIn and ask past colleagues for their recommendations.
5. Clean out your materials…
The techniques you use at the start the year can be applied at the end of any semester. Many teachers report that tidying their work area helps: sorting through their materials, throwing out whiteboard markers and other useless stationery, and recycling papers and files that are no longer useful. Doing this helps focus the mind, keeps the hands busy, and acts as a point of closure and transition between one semester and the next.
6. …and refresh them
All the reading and podcast bingeing you’ve been doing (see tip 4) will give you dozens of new ideas and resources to add to your arsenal. As summer nears its end, block out some time to print, save, file, and create materials for next semester. Your future self will thank you!
7. Catch up with other teachers
Whether you have a regular group of colleagues or teacher-friends to chat with or are looking to form a virtual staffroom, contact with other teachers is vital to keep energy levels high, share ideas, and work through challenges. Take this to the next level by attending networking events held by local teacher associations or actively contributing to online forums or professional groups on LinkedIn.