The end of the year checklists are marked off, exams are done, the final bell has rung and summer has begun. Most summers have started a month late for me after teaching summer school, but this will be my first summer in a very long time to start right away. To take full advantage of the upcoming summer, I wanted to make sure I would be able to get in all the things I hoped for so that when school starts in the fall, I would be fully recharged and ready to jump in full speed again. I want to keep in mind a good balance of my “stay at home mom” time for the brief time it lasts, so my goal is to fit in all of these this summer:
Connect With My Family
Each weekday we rush home from school, squeeze in homework, sports, dinner, baths, and reading bedtime stories and seem to lose the chance to soak in the “just being together” and “enjoying each other”. As my kids continue to get older, I wonder which memories will stick out in their childhood as some of the best things. This summer I’ll take time with them to create some new memories playing in the sand, jumping on the trampoline, visiting fun places, telling silly jokes, watching movies, and roller skating. The week before school ended, I attended a school event each night of the week; graduation, talent show, retirement party, choir concert, and team dinner. These activities are important to build relationships with staff and students at my school, but I hardly saw my family the entire week. This summer will give me a chance to go on some date nights with my husband and have time to build our relationship. On those long nights during the upcoming school year and stressful days I come home and need him, I’ll know that I have a solid partner who will support me and be ready to problem solve with me.
Exercise the Brain and Body
After 18 months of night school, I finally finished my master’s program this past school year. I kept saying, “Once I get this done, I’m getting back to a regular workout routine”. Well, easier said than done! With school events and kids’ activities during the school year, when do you fit in exercise? This summer will be a chance to focus on getting more regular exercise. The more fun it is, the less it seems like a “workout”. Intentionally planning things like kayaking at the lake, roller skating with friends for a “playdate”, swimming, jumping on the trampoline (best workout ever), and walking miles at the zoo will keep my body moving and make it easy to be active this summer. As much as we like to think we will all turn into vegetables this summer and literally “veg out”, staying active rejuvenates you and makes you feel alive! Besides, you want to make sure your jeans fit good for all the fall “jean days” so you can take full advantage! Exercising the brain is also important. I hope to take some time to read a few books on my wish list while I have more time on my hands. I usually read through dozens of educational articles on Twitter each week and am excited to take the time to read and save some of the ones I feel are valuable enough to share with others when we return to school. Summer is also the best time to reflect on the past school year and think about what my goals are for next year. As an instructional coach, I constantly work with teachers to help them make progress toward their goals. It’s just as important that I set my own professional goals and think about my action steps for the coming year. With my sunglasses on, lemonade in hand, and chlorine water splashing on me, goal setting will be in full swing.
You learn so much by visiting new places. Stories are created through your travels and those are always fun things to share with students-especially if you visit a place that they specifically study about. On a teacher’s salary, it’s not always feasible to travel to many far-away places every summer, but I have found that there are many places in my own area of Dallas, TX that I have not yet explored. I want to learn more about fun places close by and take my kids on the journey with me. Besides, many places offer discount rates if you visit on week days during the week (and it’s always less crowded); something we can’t do during the school year. I may even take time to look up information on a destination we’d like to go someday in the future. Planning a vacation, even if it doesn’t happen right away, always brings some excitement and readiness for things to come!
There are so many things that seem to go undone during the hustle and bustle of the school year. Summer is prime time to get caught up on all those projects around the house like organizing the pantry and the garage, clearing out clothes that are outgrown, touching up paint on scratched walls, and cleaning the baseboards and spots you can’t reach easily. There is also a pile of shows on the DVR that need to be watched on a pajama day (or five) and many magazines that need to be flipped through before tossing in the recycle bin. Both of my kids have summer birthdays, so we will catch up on writing thank you cards and getting them sent in the mail so one more thing can be checked off of our “catch up” list! Starting the school year with tidy closets and the smell of Pinesol floating around just makes you feel ready to get back to the grindstone and the illusion that your house might survive another crazy school year until you can clean again next summer.
My goal is to have a full summer break that includes all of these. My hope is that I’ll rest, relax, and recharge while having a lot of fun and you will too!
Crystal Roach has been an educator for 15 years in both elementary and middle school in the Dallas, TX area. Her experience includes teaching 2nd and 4th grade as well as being an ESL Team Leader, Reading Specialist, and currently an instructional coach. She has presented at 2 national conferences about ESL programs and mentoring new teachers. She was recently selected to work with the US Department of Education at the Innovation Through Teach to Lead Summit with her campus team in Columbus, OH. You can follow her educational journey on Twitter @roachteach.