You’ve landed your first teaching position, Congratulations! Statistically speaking, teachers are notorious planners and extremely passionate about our professions. This is why it may seem counterintuitive that the advice I am about to give you is actually not related to teaching at all. However, in order to show up as your best self when August rolls around, it is important you spend your last few weeks of summer truly enjoying it. Here are some ways I maximize my summer break and reset for a successful year.
1. Do nothing teaching related
I kind of spoiled this in the introduction but I could not be more serious. In those last few weeks of summer, do not do anything related to teaching. This includes checking your school e-mail, reading educational materials, or lesson planning. Essentially if it seems like work, don’t do it! Trust me, you’ll have more than enough work when the year begins! Enjoy the freedom while you can. While you can’t control professional development schedules or meetings with Human Resources, do your best to keep those last few days wide open. Enjoy the breeze, wear comfortable clothes, and take time for yourself.
Now, there are a few exceptions to this rule: decorations and a professional wardrobe. There is absolutely nothing wrong with scouring the internet for classroom décor that excites you for the year ahead. Let your imagination run wild! Keep in mind, you do not actually need a perfectly decorated classroom to be a successful teacher. It is fun to add to that wish list though! A professional wardrobe is not only fun to shop for, but also necessary when stepping into a classroom as the teacher. My advice? Choose high-quality, staple pieces that you can mix and match and take advantage of those summer sales!
2. Read for fun
It is a good thing I love to read because I sure do a ton of it in my profession. Instructional materials, curriculum standards, professional development textbooks, research materials, you name it. What I don’t get to spend a lot of time reading is suspenseful historical fiction or a good love story. Use the summer months to tackle the fun books on your reading list.
3. Spend time outside
I was teaching for five years before I was assigned to a classroom with a window. It is not secret that once the school year begins and the days become shorter, your ability to spend time outdoors will quickly diminish. Use these last weeks to get outdoors as much as you can. Go for long walks or leisurely bike rides. Grab a cold drink and lounge by the pool. Read on the patio at a local café or on your own front porch. Challenge yourself with a difficult hike and reward yourself with turkey sandwiches by a waterfall for lunch. As cliché as it sounds, there is so much peace in nature, Take advantage of the opportunity and get out in it.
4. Meet up with friends
One of my favorite parts of summer break is that I get to be a part of the ladies who lunch. Getting together with girlfriends to enjoy a meal in the early afternoon is a treat to be cherished. A few of my closest girlfriends are even teachers at my same school and when the year begins, sightings of each other are few and far between. Putting in the quality time while you have it is essential to filling up your soul with laughter and positive memories. This time will also enhance your friendships as the chaos of the year begins. And yes, you should order the champagne.
5. Cook fresh meals
Can anyone tell I like food yet? When you’re not channeling your inner real housewife at a leisurely lunch, spend time cooking fresh meals. Not only is the process relaxing, there just is not time for it during the school year.
They call me the nap queen. I try to maintain a structured sleep schedule during the summer months to eliminate the dreadful adjustment in August however, your girl loves a nap. If you are not into the midday slumber, do things that you find to be restful. This can be more of a challenge than anticipated as stated earlier, teachers love to work. However, a rested educator is more patient and able to handle the challenges the year will bring. Take advantage of the long days and snuggle up!
The summer months are necessary for both preparation and recuperation before starting a new school year. Never feel bad about taking time to enjoy a vacation and rest for the challenges ahead.