Congratulations! You may have just crossed the finish line; another school year is in the books! For educators in various roles, summer may look different. If your students attend school based upon a 10-month calendar, students, teachers, and many support staff have an extended break during the summer months, while administrators and other critical staff are still reporting to work–but there is definitely a different vibe. Summertime is a time to rest, recharge, grow and prepare for the upcoming school year. Don’t feel guilty, be selfish and carve out some time for yourself; you will be better for it! Why not try some of the following ways to decompress from the past school year so you can be your best self for the upcoming one:
Read for pleasure.
Sure, there are numerous titles of educational books that you can read during the summer—and you should, but there is something great about escaping to another land and imagining a very different life. It activates the imagination and takes you on a journey.
Spend time with people.
During the hustle and bustle of the school year, we can get caught up in the events of the school and commitments to our profession that we often put personal relationships off to the side. It is imperative to nurture the relationships with the important people in your life; you don’t get that time back. Make dates to connect with friends and family members.
Explore new things.
The internet opens the door to a whole different world. Maybe you always wanted to learn to play the guitar, learn to draw cartoons or improve your culinary skills. You don’t need someone to teach you, you can use various apps and websites that will help you learn virtually anything. There is tremendous satisfaction is being self-taught.
If possible, travel to new places and explore the world around you. Reading about the Romans is great, but standing in the Colosseum is priceless! For sure, not everyone has a budget to travel the world, but there are great opportunities to do days trips that cost almost nothing. Check out the Chamber of Commerce in your area for summertime events. Many municipalities and cities offer a plethora of things to do on the cheap.
Get the endorphins going!
Do something physical each day to get the heart rate up. Summertime is the perfect time to establish a routine that you can carry into the school year. It takes 3 months for any habit to take hold. You can get a jump start on your exercise routine that you can continue during the school year.
Volunteering makes the heart feel good. Check the out ways that you can help others. Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross and other local organizations depend on volunteers to carry out their mission. You will not only feel great, but you may also learn some new skills along the way.
Build a PLN.
Professional learning Networks are different that Professional Learning Communities, they connect you with educators worldwide. It is invigorating to engage in professional conversations with people outside of your local area. They can share insights and ideas different than your PLC. Jump into a twitter chat to connect and grow in your pedagogy.
Clean out those drawers, closets and garage. There is something therapeutic about decluttering living spaces. It gives you a chance to start over with a clean slate; it feels great!
Tackle small projects that make you feel good. Digging in the dirt, fixing things around the house, or try a DIY project can fill your days and give you a great sense of accomplishment.
Plan for the upcoming school year.
You know the old saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Start planning for awesome lessons or activities that will affect staff and students in your school. You have time to develop activities and experiment with ideas that you may not have ample time to do during the school year.
Take a break from electronics.
During the school year, we are married to devices for email, social media and everything google! Summertime is the perfect time to put down the phone, laptop or iPad and take a tech break. Specify hours that are a no tech zone and focus on the events happening without distraction.
Attend an EdCamp style conference, virtual conferences or other forms of virtual PD.
There is something great about professional learning that is not mandated, but helps educators grow. Explore ideas that can enhance your curriculum or leadership.
Sublime says that summertime is when the living is easy—or it should be! Make sure not to over-schedule yourself and get the rest that you need to recharge. Your staff and students will be counting on you to bring positive energy and enthusiasm into the new school year.
There is virtue in work and virtue in rest, use both and overlook neither
Paul J. Berardelli is a proud principal of Delsea Regional High School. Paul has challenged himself to be a true educational leader by inspiring his staff and students to excel. More recently, Paul has been featured in ASCD Journal for his article “Road Tested / Getting Up to Speed with Speed PD” and “Why Every Administrator Should Team Teach” and “Our Teachers Deserve More Praise”, and numerous blog posts in ASCD Inservice. You can follow Paul on Twitter @PaulBerardelli
Michele Hill is a passionate educator in her 25th year of teaching–students first, curriculum second. Throughout her career as an educator, Michele has been a champion for struggling and impoverished students. Michele has been a guest blogger for ASCD Inservice, McGraw Hill, Principal Leadership, Teacher Tool Kit UK, Edweek and ASCD Road Tested. Michele is the producer of DisruptEdTV School Spotlight. You can follow Michele on Twitter @HillMrispo or visit her blog: spiritededucator.blogspot.com