Between planning, teaching, grading, contacting parents, and doing administrative work, the average teacher spends about 60 hours per week on the job.
In 60 hours you could drive from San Diego to Chicago and back again.
In 60 hours you could watch all six seasons of Game of Thrones.
In 60 hours you could read Tolstoy’s War and Peace twice.
While a teacher’s academic year is nothing short of exhausting and all-consuming, summer break is the persistent light at the end of the tunnel.
If you are a teacher heading into your summer vacation, what do you plan to do with your extra 60 or so hours of free time per week?
Before you let those hours melt away catching up on sleep or sitting in front of the television, think about participating in some activities that could enhance your mind, push your creativity, and even make your upcoming school year a bit easier than the last one. Read on for some of our favorite ideas.
Sometimes teachers can feel guilty about preaching the importance of reading for pleasure to students without making time to do so themselves.
Make up for lost time this summer by reading the books that you never got around to checking out during the school year.
Whether it’s by the beach, in a hammock, or on the comfort of your couch, make time to dig into the pile that’s been collecting dust on your bedside table.
Take a trip
Broaden your horizons by getting out of your comfort zone. While you should venture farther than lounging by the nearest pool, you also don’t need to travel across the world to have an enlightening experience.
Go on a road trip to the nearest college town or check out a historic site in your state that you haven’t been to before.
Try a new hobby
Be honest- how many times did you catch yourself thinking this school year about things that you would want to do if you only had the time? Well, now you do!
We encourage our students to spend their summers doing an internship or learning a new language to get ahead, so take a bit of your own advice and try something new.
From salsa dancing to learning Mandarin, it’s never too late to pick up a new skill.
Take an online course
You spend all year being a teacher. Take part of your summer to be a student again by taking an online course. Today, you can find online courses on just about any topic from Shakespeare to Statistics in Sports.
Want to study something practical for next semester? How about a course to better learn how to use technology in the classroom?
Here are a few online courses on educational technology that should be useful for every teacher:
- Teaching With Technology and Inquiry: An Open Course For Teachers (EdX.org)
- Teaching Techniques: Blended Learning (Lynda.com)
- Teaching With Technology (Lynda.com)
- Social Media in the Classroom (Lynda.com)
Start a blog
Get your ideas out into the world! You can make your blog as public or private as you like, but many teachers have found solace in this activity allows you to enjoy some much-needed independence and reflection after a long school year. And it sure feels more productive than binge watching Netflix.
Take note of the lessons you’ve learned from your own classroom, experiments you’ve tried, programs you’ve used. All of this can be very helpful other teachers, and for yourself to keep track of your progress! In fact, we might even be interested in linking to or syndicating content that you publish!
Or write about something else entirely. Write about cooking, politics, gardening, whatever else you’re diving into.
You might also consider starting a classroom blog that you can use in the following fall with your students. (We’ll have a post on that shortly)
Explore new software for the upcoming school year
Summer is a great time to explore different online platforms that you think you might want to use in your classroom for the upcoming year.
Spend a little time trying out the site now, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running in the new school year.
So before this summer slips away from you, be thoughtful about how you want to spend it.
Definitely take some much needed time to relax and visit with friends and family, but don’t forget to build in some activities for your own personal growth as well.