Ways for Teachers to Rejuvenate and Learn This Summer
The summer is a great time for teachers to rest and rejuvenate. It's also a great time to learn and grow. The trick is to find a balance between the two so you don't feel unprepared when the next school year rolls around, but you don't feel burnt out either.
It is possible to rejuvenate and learn at the same time!
Here are some of our favorite ideas that will help you feel rested and prepared ahead of the next school year.
Get Together With Other Teachers For Fun
Teachers talk to each other a lot during the school year, but it's almost always about students, the curriculum, or the latest test scores. There isn't a lot of time to hang out, get to know each other, and talk about your favorite show on Netflix.
The summer is the perfect time to get to know other teachers. Invite them out to brunch, go out and grab a drink, or have everyone meet up with their kids at a local playground.
Have old friends from college who became teachers? Have coworkers who want to invite their teacher friends from other schools to socialize? The more, the merrier!
Not only does it give you a chance to talk to other teachers about all the stuff you don't have time to talk about during the school year, it also provides you with the perfect environment for discovering creative ideas. There's no pressure to find a solution or hurry on to the next topic on the agenda (which is the norm during the school day). You will be surprised what amazing things you will learn, discover, and create when you finally get to socialize with other teachers without school-year pressures on your mind.
Take a Class or Attend a Workshop
There are plenty of professional development meetings you may have to attend during the summer. They can help you prepare for the next school year, and they can be extremely informative, but they definitely aren't relaxing, and they are rarely fun.
Fortunately, that's not what we mean when we say you should attend a class or a workshop!
Instead of classes that focus directly on education, you might take a pottery class or a cooking class. Doing this gives you the ability to become the student and take a break from being the teacher. It can also help you remember what it feels like to be frustrated or confused when learning something new, as well as triumphant when you finally get it right.
Workshops can be a great option for teachers during the summer. They don't necessarily have to relate to education either. You could attend a workshop on journaling, spirituality, or scrapbooking. The idea is that you practice using your brain in new ways. It also gives you a chance to reflect, which can help you tackle the next school year with more confidence.
Spend the Day at a Cultural Festival
Classrooms are increasingly becoming more intercultural. That's a great thing! It exposes students to other cultures and fosters the development of acceptance and equality.
The trouble is, there isn't always a lot of time during the school year to fully appreciate the culture of the students in our classrooms. Without all the tests and curriculum requirements, the summer is the perfect time to expose yourself to the food, music, and values of other cultures.
See if you can find a cultural festival near you and spend the day exploring everything it has to offer. You can find Latino heritage festivals, Chinese heritage festivals, African American freedom festivals, and many more. You just might discover a new point of view that will help you bring out the best in your future students.
Travel is one of the best ways to open up the mind and experience other cultures. The further you stray from home, the more impactful the experience can be.
Travel to a place in the world that is very different from your hometown, and you'll feel like a student again. Try traveling to a country where you have to learn a new language in order to get around. Try different foods and strike up a conversation with locals to learn more about the area.
You don't necessarily have to travel abroad to have an impactful travel experience. If you're from the Midwest, it can feel foreign to walk the streets of New York City, while teachers in California may find it eye-opening to travel to rural Texas.
It's even better if you document your travels! Write a journal, take pictures, and bring back fun mementos to share with your class when school starts up again.
Join a Book Club
Reading is a favorite pastime of many teachers. By all means, curl up with a good book this summer, but also consider joining a book club.
Instead of reading a book alone, you're able to read with people you can talk to about what you're reading. That's something that frequently happens in the classroom but rarely happens in the adult world-unless you join a book club!
It can also help you get in tune with your inner student. Most book clubs only allow you to read a certain number of pages within a certain time frame so that you don't get ahead of the rest of the group. There are sometimes discussion questions, and some groups even encourage members to write down their answers. Because the teacher suddenly becomes the student, it's easier to develop empathy and understanding for what the students in your class go through during reading assignments throughout the school year.
Depending on what kind of book club you join, you could discover some great teaching ideas! Teachers who have older students may read a book they want to share with next year's class. You might also discover a technique or an activity that you can bring to your classroom next year.
Do What All the Kids Are Doing These Days
What are the kids in your class into these days? Do they talk about Tik Tok all the time? Maybe there's a video game or an app that they can't seem to get enough of?
The summer is the perfect time to explore what interests your students!
Download that app and play that game. Read the series that all the kids at school seem to love and try hopping on a skateboard.
Not only is it a great way for you to connect with your students on a more personal level, but it's also good for your brain. It can help stimulate creativity, it slows the aging process, and it can sharpen your focus, which are all great things to take with you when you head back to school in the fall.
It's important for teachers to rest and unwind during the summer, but just like kids should work on building and maintaining skills, so should teachers.
That doesn't mean it can't be a lot of fun!
With the ideas on this list, you can laugh and have plenty of fun, but you'll also discover new ideas, expand your mind, and find yourself getting excited about heading back into the classroom next year.