As you prepare for your summer, teachers, you know you need to rest to be your best. I hope you take time with your family and friends and find hobbies to replenish all that has depleted your energy.
For those teachers who need professional development and CEUs this summer, you want your PD to replenish you. This blog post will give some recommendations about what you need to do to feel rejuvenated and point to some courses that will help you do that. Let’s splash ahead!
1. Get Some Rest
At the end of the school year, we teachers are depleted. Not just tired. We have given so much, and we do not have anything left to give to our careers; it is sometimes hard to care for ourselves. I have often found that it takes me three to four weeks to get into summer, and at some point, I feel myself healing so I can begin to have fun.
My best summers are those I jumpstart with a restful vacation away with the family where we eat out, sleep, and do nothing. I find that I’m rested and start enjoying my summer faster. Every summer since I’ve been teaching (20 years now), I don’t start feeling like myself until that first vacation. So, why not rest and do it early. Re-create yourself for a better tomorrow.
PD Connection. In the meantime, as you look forward and work to rest so you can be your best, here are some professional development topics with skills to help in this valuable area of self-care and battling burnout.
If I’ve learned anything from my broken foot, it is that there are things only I can do for myself. Teacher, you have to take care of yourself. Summer is the time to do that. Check out these courses to help you:
2. Pursue Fun Hobbies
One mistake I’ve seen many teachers make is “project” themselves into exhaustion in the summertime. While it is great to paint the house and build a “she shed” in the backyard, how can you recover if you go from hard work at school to hard work at home?
So, find time for some of your fun hobbies. If you genuinely enjoy gardening, pace yourself so it won’t feel like too much work, and it will rejuvenate you. And when you’re ready, consider how to bring your passions (and your students’) into the classroom with passion projects and student interest projects. If you love art, take a class or go to a new place to draw, write, or create.
PD Connection. As you do, consider how to bring these types of interests into your classroom. Personal interests engage students in learning. Learn how to bring those in for students.
3. Play Games
Whether you play board games, breakout rooms, adventure activities, or a favorite video game, consider which types of games engage you with others. I recommend selecting the games that build deep relationships and promote conversations. Limit the time spent on games that further isolate you from others. I have a few games I like and set a timer on my Apple Watch when I sit down to play.
PD Connection. Classroom learning can use many games to teach. You can discover how to connect games to learning in the classroom.
4. Read a Book (or Two)
Reading is called one of the “best hobbies in the world.” Reading is linked to stress reduction and even a longer lifespan. The research is astounding and shows it can lower heart rates and blood pressure. But make sure you at least take some time to read for pleasure.
My friends who teach literature (and read hundreds of student papers a year) have often told me how hard it is to sit down and read for fun because they associate reading with work. However, reading for the joy of reading can improve your life.
If I want to push my reading, I sign up with my local library’s reading club, but other times I set a goal of a book or two a month in the summertime and make time to sit and read. At the beginning of the summer, I will go to the library, find the books I love to read and look around the shelves to see related content (this works best for nonfiction unless you’re looking for more works by your favorite author!).
PD Connection. As you consider reading for interest, think about how to help students find books they are interested in and how to sustain silent reading.
5. Take a Social Media Sabbatical
Every summer, I take at least a week (sometimes two) to go completely offline. Sometimes we will find a place to go without the Internet (gasp!).
While social media can be helpful, it can also distract and keep us from deepening and focusing on relationships.
PD Connection. Helping students manage social media and attain media literacy skills is part of developing their wellness habits.
- Teaching Media Literacy in a Post-Truth World
- Respect, Educate, and Protect: Cultivating Digital Citizenship in 21st Century Learners
- Developing 21st Century Skills in a Digital World (K-5 or 6-12)
6. Reestablish Connections with Family and Friends
Last summer, I made a list of those I wanted to know better and invited them to breakfast or lunch. I also included family members on this list. At the end of the summer, I had new relationships that sustained me through my recent broken foot. I’m so glad I deepened those relationships.
PD Connection. You have to relate to educate. Building good relationships with your students is vital. Becoming more skilled at relationship building can benefit every teacher.
Journaling can be helpful for many reasons. You can process how you feel about events in your life and even the school year. I typically sit down and write about things during the school year. Then, at the end of the year, I’ll review what I wrote to find common patterns and determine the areas I need to work on over the summer. Journaling is a lifetime skill that has helped me become a better person. Purchase a cute summer notebook to use.
PD Connection. Consider how you help students journal and if you can use this to help teach writing in the classroom. Additionally, knowing how to help students bring personal experiences into their college essays is another way to apply this skill to make your school a better place.
8. Take Time for Learning
Yes, we can take time to learn and improve. However, many of us must attain a certain number of hours in coursework.
PD Connection. So, when you do, make sure it is something you enjoy and is directly applicable to your classroom. I’ve included suggestions in this post; however, you can search for self-paced classes that fit your needs and schedule. (Click the search box in the top right corner of this page.)
9. Play with Technology
Summer is a great time to read blogs and attend conferences about educational technology. In addition, I take time to play with new tools to see what I will bring into my classroom and how I will reach students.
PD Connection. Take some courses with best practices that connect technology tools to pedagogical improvements in your classroom teaching.
10. Find Adventurous Ways to Teach in New Ways
Engaging students can be challenging. Summer is the perfect time to consider classroom procedures and how to engage students in learning. In the fall (after you’ve rested), investments in your classroom will help you and your students.
PD Connection. Find courses that excite you and have methods you look forward to trying. This summer is not the time for dry, dull topics but to be engaged so you can engage others in the new school year.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored blog post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to include a reference to their product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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