As the school year comes to a close, teachers and students across the country are looking forward to the summer break. From part-time jobs to tropical vacations, summer is a time to step back from the classroom--but it doesn't have to be a break from teaching or learning. Educators will take this time to clear out the debris from the last school year, and make plans for the next. Harness the professional development possibilities of the summer to relax and recharge, to re-enter the classroom in September with a renewed sense of purpose. For more ideas, check out last year's summertime PD post or our summer PD reading list.
If you ever find yourself saying "eight" when someone asks you how many years you've been teaching, only to remember you've been "in the trenches" for ten, you know how fast time flies. (Despite how tougher days may tick by sometimes!) If you feel that the school years are starting to blur into one, take time to identify the ways in which this school year was significant. What worked? What didn't? What are some experiences you'll never forget? Reflective practice not only hones teaching skills, but provides closure. Consider creatively documenting your reflective findings by writing in a journal or creating a video. Not only will this help to solidify your ideas, but it will serve as a tangible milestone to revisit in the future.
Become a leader
Delve deeper. Now that you've had some time to reflect on last year's victories, think about the qualities that you, as an educator, possess that helped you accomplish them. What are the things your colleagues seek your advice about? What's something you find yourself excited to work on with students?
Pinpointing and verbalizing your unique perspective as a teacher can open the door to leadership opportunities. Let your light shine, your freak flag fly! You don't have to publish a research paper or start a movement to be a thought leader in education. It can be as simple as taking the first step in sharing what you've learned. How about writing a blog, or organizing a group of teachers to collaborate on a project? Or try your hand at hosting a workshop at a local conference. Whatever you decide to do, find a way to translate your knowledge into a learning opportunity for others. After all, teaching is a collaborative activity that's enriched by unique perspectives. It's like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: "We may have all come on different ships, but we're all in the same boat now."
Remember all of the great technology you learned about last year but never had the time to figure out or implement? Summer's a great opportunity to research and familiarize yourself with these tools. Identify how you'd like to incorporate technology into your classroom using the SAMR model, or delve into online professional development platforms. Here are a few of our favorites:
Relax, recharge, repeat
Don't forget to take time for yourself. Of all of the professions, teaching is one that is truly impossible to leave behind at the end of the work day. You may leave school at four o'clock, but that rarely means you've actually "taken off your teacher's hat." Over the summer, take time to indulge in hobbies and reconnect with your non-teacher social circles (who?!). Do your prep for next year, like supply shopping or file organizing at the beginning of summer to get it out of the way. Create a self-care plan for next year, figuring out how to be an even more successful educator while carving out extra time for personal pursuits. Make a self-care kit to bring into the classroom, with healthy snacks, a favorite book, and a list of de-stress strategies.
What are you looking forward to the most about next year? How do you plan to address professional development over the next few months? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy your break!
Site: flickr.com [Image 1]