Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to Use Your Summer

A lot of teachers are addicted to the stress, the hustle and bustle of a full school year in motion. After a few weeks of summer, I think I'll guiltily raise my hand and join that group. Some of you are awesome at just chilling. Now I'm not judging those of you who can go through an entire season of "How I Met Your Mother" in a single summer day (in fact, I might join you) but I think that there are indeed ways to maximize your time in the summer and there are most definitely ways to continue the burnout (if that is what you so choose...or all you know and understand.)

Summer DO's

1. Me Time
This is exactly what it sounds like. I have taken time this summer to start these relaxing breathing exercises. I can actually feel myself calming down and hope to make it common practice during the school year as well. I have also been exercising a ton more. Teaching is such a service profession and we are always in the presence of others. I find that it's important (and very difficult for me to remember to do) to take some time out of caring for everyone else and care for myself!

2. To Do List
This is where all of those "How I Met Your Mother" DVDs come in. There is a whole long list of things that we don't do during the regular school year because of time constrictions. Now some of these things include cleaning and errands, but some of them are a lot more fun than that. Reconnecting with old friends, writing letters to family members who are far away, shopping for fun, outdoor cookouts and park days, reading for pleasure, taking short name it. This are things that we tend to neglect but are the kinds of things that can be really fulfilling and, better yet, rejuvenating.

Summer DON'Ts

1. Transference
Have you committed yourself to something ELSE besides teaching (or some other version of teaching) that takes JUST AS MUCH effort, time, and dedication as your regular school year? Burnout is a REAL thing and transferring your crazy work ethic to something else will not only make you even more exhausted, but it will actually make you less effective at the beginning of our next long school year ahead.

2. Full Speed Ahead
This is when you don't actually realize that you've been given a break at all. You spend your days writing lesson plans, creating/tweaking activities that didn't go well this year, and buying pretty things to enhance your classroom/students (and not yourself). We only get a couple of months. For this I suggest scheduling and moderation. Absolutely we should self reflect and continue to grow as professionals, but we can't continue to grow if we're driving ourselves into the ground. Teaching is a part of life, life is not teaching. (I know, I forget too.)


  1. Great advice!I'm one of those people who has NO PROBLEM chilling out and doing nothing. But I also feel so guilty for doing so (shouldn't I be making vocabulary cards for the new grade level reading curriculum I'll be using next year?). I find it's somewhat helpful to give myself limits like: no working on school stuff until August rolls around. Or something like that!

  2. I wrote a post similar to yours...but yours had some great stuff in it that I didn't have! I had a hard time leaving the stress of the school year behind and had to tell myself, Yes it is ok to relax and do nothing for a minute! Now I am moving on to the other things, staying very busy but still fitting in plenty of "me" time. :o)

    Robin @

  3. I also shared this great post on Twitter.

  4. Robin: It's so great to hear from you and I'm so flattered that you shared my post! I love meeting new teachers that I can learn something from and I'm glad I'm not the only teacher who has a hard time finding balance during the summer!!!

    Sarah: I'm GLAD you have no problem chilling! I want to be like you (not that that's anything new).