Summer is here, so you’ve probably been off from school for at least a few weeks. Your brain may have finally shut off its "teacher mode" and that can be a great feeling. But believe it or not, some educators may already be wishing for the return of the connections and conversations teacher mode brings.
When I first started teaching and didn't have kids of my own to deal with over summer break, I actually got a little lonely sometimes. I even opted to teach summer school (regretting that decision later!) because I missed my students and colleagues.
If you’re one of those educators missing that connection, here are a few ways you can stay in touch with colleagues without necessarily joining the summer school crew.
Join a Conversation
You don’t have to join a PD workshop this summer in order to talk practice. Instead, you could watch and discuss an interactive video in the Tch Video Lounge. These videos contain ongoing discussions about Tch videos, from questions around coaching to teaching ELLs. Jump in, see what others are saying, and add your own thoughts.
Help Another Educator
As educators, we’re often sharing nuggets of wisdom with others. If you’re missing that part of yourself this summer, log on to Tch and share your wisdom in our Q&A. There are over 3,000 questions posted on all subjects and topics. While you’re there, why not ask a few of your own questions? Is there something you’ve been wondering about classroom management? Ask away!
Join a Bookclub
Book clubs are a fun way to get motivated to read. And they’re great for keeping your conversation skills active over the summer months. If you can’t find a local book club, you could join a virtual book discussion on Goodreads. Or, you could even look into starting your own community book club. See how Tch Laureate Geneviève DeBose started one at her school.
Start a Blog
While writing a blog can feel like a solo act, once it’s published, you get to interact with your readers. Not sure what to write about? Start with your teaching story! To see how one teacher started blogging and then taught her students to do the same, watch this video.
Plan to Connect All Year
As instructional coach Meagan England writes in her blog post, teachers who stay connected teach longer. Take some time this summer to gather your colleagues and plan how you'll support each other in the coming year. You can think about starting or improving PLCs, or you might want to build co-teaching structures.
Of course, not everyone wants to keep that teacher brain active over the summer, and no one says you have to. In fact, a complete shut off may be just what you need. If that’s the case, read how Sarah Brown Wessling embarked on a long, solo hike in order to prepare for the next school year. You might benefit from a trip down the trail, too.
Whether or not you decide to connect over the summer, we’re looking forward to connecting with you when the back to school season arrives. And it will be here before you know it!
Gretchen Vierstra taught middle school for ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area. During her 15+ years in education, she’s also been a department chair, new teacher coach, curriculum developer, and policy analyst. She is Director of Educational Content at Teaching Channel.