We made it—summer is finally here! Sometimes I feel like the Energizer Bunny throughout the year since I just keep going and going and going. While everyone is excited to have a break, it does seem like our summers keep getting shorter and shorter, so we need to make the most out of the time we have. And just like the Energizer Bunny, every battery needs a little recharging. Here are some tips to help you recharge this summer:
Me Time: First and foremost, do some things for yourself. Teachers give so much of themselves on a daily basis, so it’s important to take a moment that’s just for you. Relax by the pool with friends, get a massage or spa treatment, run a 5k, or take an outdoor yoga class. Now is the perfect time to read all those books that have been piling up on your nightstand, or maybe organizing your basement or shoes is more your thing! Don’t even think about school for a while. Ideally, we should take this time for ourselves throughout the year, but life doesn’t always work that way. Now that you have some time, a little self-care will leave you feeling refreshed and energized.
Family/Friend Time: Once you’ve taken time for yourself, enjoy some time to surround yourself with the people who love you. Many educators are parents, so summer can be a special time with your own kids—as much as we like to put family first, they may have to take a backseat at times throughout the busy school year. This is also a great time to meet up with friends for an actual lunch that doesn’t consist of inhaling food in just 25 minutes! Summer vacations or staycations are also great, so plan some fun activities to do either at home or out of town. And your furry friends count as well, so take some extra time to go to the dog park or cuddle with your kitty. Being with people (and pets) who love you improves your overall mental health and can definitely make you feel recharged!
Reflections: After you’ve taken some time to not think about school, it is important to reflect on the previous year. Teachers are lucky because we get to start fresh every year, and with that comes opportunity for our own growth. Take a moment or two to be introspective. What worked last year? What didn’t? How can you improve your curriculum or your overall attitude to make next year the best it can be? Write down some goals for yourself for the upcoming school year. The one thing that is certain in education is that change is constant, and we should be open to changing, too. While some of those tried-and-true methods may continue to work, there are always new things to try and we need to be willing to do so. We want our students to have a growth mindset, and teachers need this same kind of mindset in order to be truly effective. We are all lifelong learners—taking time to reflect is very important in order to grow and improve as an educator.
Personal Growth: When you have figured out a few things from your time of reflection, set some plans into motion. There are so many great books out there about education. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess is a popular one right now, and The First Days of School by Harry Wong is an oldie but goodie. Of course, just browsing the internet for uplifting blog articles (hint, hint) can get you energized and jazzed up about being an educator. Even though you were exhausted by the end of the school year, there are many wonderful things about being a teacher. We teach because we are passionate about education and our students. We inspire, facilitate, educate, create, and love on a daily basis. Teachers make the world a better place, so be proud of our profession!
Schoolwork: Yes, I said it. As much as we don’t want to think about doing work and truly taking those two months off, ask any teacher and they will tell you that we do actually work over the summer. Of course, some of us take on part-time jobs to make some extra cash during the break, but many of us will work on our own school stuff to be ready for the new year. August is always a mad rush to get everything ready, so it’s nice to take some time to plan and get organized. I like to start off by searching Pinterest or Google to get ideas. Meet up with one of your team members to do some planning and/or divide and conquer your to-do list. Some teachers even like to get into the classroom earlier than everyone else to get started. Feeling organized and having things ready to go in August will not only make for a great start, but also make you feel energized and excited for the upcoming year.
Summer is a period during the year when time is actually on our side. So, take that time and use it wisely by taking care of yourself and family/friends, then dive in and get some work accomplished. You will feel refreshed, recharged, and ready for the new year!
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