Your long-awaited summer break has arrived! While teachers are especially good at filling up their calendars with neglected to-dos and preparation for what’s next, be sure to pause and take your well-deserved break. You’ve earned it.
The world moves fast and, for a teacher, the summer moves even faster. You probably won’t conquer everything on that ever-growing list. But if you choose just a few things to work on this summer in your personalized professional learning plan, you’ll return to your classroom refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the new school year.
Here are five ways you can recharge and level up on your own terms this summer.
Recharge Your Spirit and Passion: Strategic Self-Care
Teaching is hard. It’s one of the most stressful professions and really can take a lot out of you — especially if your daily routine needs some work. During the summer months, take time to turn the teacher off. Reconnect with your family and friends, spend time honing that interest or hobby you love, exercise, and get the sleep you need.
While the days are a little less hectic, experiment with your daily and weekly routines. How can you hack your morning routine? What is a manageable housekeeping schedule or dinner menu that works for you? Can you find the time to prioritize exercise? When can you plan non-negotiable quality time with family and friends? Figure out when you’re at your best, and how you can use the hidden patterns of the day to build your best schedule. Then think about how these pieces fit into your teacher life and make a plan to keep the stress at bay all year long.
Recharge Your Professional Learning Network
Step Up Your Social Media Game
We know that teachers who stay connected are more satisfied in their work and stay in the classroom longer. Take some time this summer to join a few Twitter chats or educator Facebook groups. Not only will you be investing the time in building your personalized professional learning network, you’ll also suddenly have hundreds — maybe thousands — of fellow educators just one Tweet or post away when you have a question or a problem of practice to solve. Once you find your tribe, post a question and watch the magic happen!
EdCamps are free, teacher-driven, professional learning opportunities for all educators. EdCamps use an “unconference” model where conversations and collaboration are key to building teacher networks and sharing best practices. An EdCamp won’t waste your time because they value experience over experts and operate with the rule of two feet — if a session isn’t working for you, leave and find one that does.
Learn more about EdCamp in this Tch Talks podcast with Kristin Swanson, the founder of EdCamp. Find out about upcoming EdCamps in your area and if you can’t find one nearby, think about organizing one.
Recharge Your Mind: Read a Good Book
Reading is one of my favorite ways to learn. Whether you plan to take a good book on an adventure this summer or the good book IS the adventure, here are a few ideas for where you can start:
- Explore critical creativity and #RigorousWhimsy with Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom, by Amy Burval and Dan Ryder.
- Learn how to implement gradual changes for massive impact in your classroom with Shift This, by Joy Kirr.
- Ready for a creative breakthrough? Try The Wild Card, by Hope King and Wade King.
- Why not hack classroom management with Mike Roberts or school culture with Angela Stockman and Ellen Feig Gray?
Recharge Your Resources: Playlist Palooza
Sarah Brown Wessling’s strategies are some of the most popular videos in the Teaching Channel library. Check out this post, packed with Sarah’s sizzlin’ strategy videos for you to explore. And if you haven’t seen Sarah’s Tcher’s Cut series, take a journey behind the scenes in some of Sarah’s most powerful Tch videos.
Do you need support with civic engagement and educating for democracy? Try these innovative, just-in-time social studies videos and resources.
- Educators Help Students Leverage the Power of Digital Civics
- The Power of Student Voice in First-Person Commentaries
Are you a math teacher looking for new strategies? Check out these video playlists packed with Tch Laureate Kristin Gray’s math routines and strategies for young learners.
- Building on Young Children’s Mathematical Thinking
- Math in Early Childhood: 6 Strategies for Teaching Math Throughout the Day
- Tch DIY: Math Routines with Kristin Gray
Looking for an S.O.S. as you build your STEM instruction or shift to NGSS? In these Tch video playlists, you’ll find strategies for teaching STEM to “littles,” tips for building testing mechanisms, and strategies to move your NGSS instruction from theory to practice.
Instructional coaches need support, too! In this Tch video playlist, you can follow Tch Laureate Josh Parker through a coaching cycle with a new teacher, Marquis Colquitt, and learn from their experience.
Looking for a place where you can watch, learn, and talk about Tch videos with other educators? Check out the interactive videos in Tch Video Lounge and join the conversation!
Podcasts are all the rage in professional learning — especially during the summer months. Take your favorites along on all your summer adventures. My favorite? Tch Talks, of course! Tch Talks brings together members of the Teaching Channel community engaged in the daily practice of helping young people learn. Tune into these conversations to discover ways to improve your practice, gain insights into the profession, or simply spark your own imagination.
There are a ton of great podcasts out there. Here are a few to get you started:
Catch Up On Your Favorite Blogs
Reading education blogs is a great way to stay current and learn from your colleagues. Like a podcast, an online blog travels well and won’t take up space in your carry-on. My favorite? You guessed it, Tchers’ Voice. Our blog is filled with great ideas from passionate educators just like you, and you’ll find something new just about every day. Writing is also a great way to reflect, learn, and share what you know, so when you’re ready to jump in… blog with us!
There is no shortage of educator blogs. Here are a few others you can try:
Recharge Your Practice: Dive Deep Into The Topics You Need
Dive Into The Deep End of the Pool
Is there something specific you’d like to improve on before you return to your classroom next year? Check out Tch’s summer learning series. Chances are you’ll find a topic that you can tweak this summer so you can come back to your classroom better than ever. Choose from organization, growth mindset, classroom management, social-emotional learning, learning through video, differentiation, and assessment. And be sure to check back over the next few weeks for new posts on ELLs and collaboration.
Deep Sea Dive
If you’re ready to go “all-in” this summer, don’t miss Teaching Channel’s Deep Dives are expertly curated collections of content that encourage you to look closely, ask questions, make connections to your own practice, and learn from and alongside inspiring educators and thought leaders. There are currently 17 different topics you can choose from for deeper summer learning.
Remember, inspiration and professional learning can come from uncanny and analogous places, too. Resources like TED Talks, The Moth, Brainpickings, and Humans of New York — even if the topics seem completely unrelated — can shift your teaching practice to the next level.
So, how will you learn this summer?
Lisa Hollenbach is Editorial Content Manager for Teaching Channel. Lisa taught high school Social Studies for 15 years in Pennsylvania. A teacher leader during her 17+ years in education, she has served as Department Chair, new-teacher mentor, cooperating teacher, adjunct professor, and NEA-affiliated teachers’ association leader. Lisa served as a member of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council, on several ECET2 Steering Committees, and is a Co-Founder, Director, and Writing Coach for the National Blogging Collaborative, a non-profit organization that cultivates and supports the capacity of all educators to use their unique voice to elevate the craft of teaching and learning. Lisa leads the Collaborative in engagement and social media storytelling. Connect with Lisa on Teaching Channel, on her blog, or on Twitter: @lisa_hollenbach.