June 7, 2016

What Teachers Really Do During the Summer

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I have wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. I obviously enjoyed being in the classroom & wanted to convey knowledge to students but needless to say, I wasn’t going to complain about getting an ENTIRE SUMMER OFF! However, when I actually started teaching, I realized that really wasn’t the case. People always think teachers “have the summer off” but in actuality that is far from the truth. So what do teachers REALLY do during the summer? Here are a few ramblings from me & some fellow middle/high school teachers from my Secondary Mastermind Group.



Obviously we need to rest. Teachers are tired from spending an entire year teaching, disciplining, etc. We need a break.

I was talking with Carissa of mELTing Teacher about her plans to go grab some time at the beach with her family before teaching summer school. When talking about the need for teachers to rest, I love how Carissa put it, “…recharging my batteries is essential to being perky and energetic when students show up.”
 

Isn’t that the truth?! People that don’t teach don’t understand how we have to be “on” from the moment we walk in the door until we leave each day. In order to do this, we NEED some rest! I just need a few days without an alarm clock and agenda where I can lay around in my yoga pants & fuzzy socks. An afternoon nap…sure, why not?! 




From my own personal experience and talking to lots of fellow teachers, I know that we put off doing everything until summertime. So when it rolls around, we need to work on all those things we have PUT off ALL YEAR LONG. This is the time that we get all those things done that we weren’t able to do because we were teaching, grading papers, sponsoring clubs/sports, etc. We need this for our sanity. 

Talking with DianaJo of DianaJo's Math & More, she was excited to share that she just finished building a fire pit in her backyard, something she has wanted to do for a while. Perfect timing DianaJo, summer is here! Wish I was there to enjoy it with you!

 


When asked what her plans are for the summer, Carissa Peck responds with, “I plan to make a big jug of sparkling sangria…and clean my garage.” She moved in February and hasn’t had time to get all her boxes emptied. Now is the time, Carissa! Get it done before we all have to go back! 




It is important for teachers to reflect on the school year behind us in order to do a better job on the school year before us. We need time to think about what worked, what didn’t work, what could be done better or differently. We, teachers, don’t have time to do this during the school year because before we get done with one thing, we are onto something else.


I know I typically spend time making a chart like the one linked below (free). I try to be brutally honest & list both my strengths & my weaknesses as a teacher. Then I try to find ways that I can improve each of my weaknesses, maybe even using some of my strengths. For example, I have always struggled with contacting parents. Having 150+ students a day, contacting parents is rather difficult. However, I do like using technology. So I have found that emailing all the parents of each class together in a group email really has helped me to keep in contact with the parents, without having to call or email each one individually.



Carissa is changing around many of her classes this year. She is going from very literature-focused ELA classes to more publishing-focused classes with journalism & yearbook. She told me that typically she spends the summer going through & asking herself the following questions:


·       What did the students like? What did I like?


·       What met the goals of the class?


·       What did the students struggle with on the final? Is it a bad question, or do I need to refocus on these skills?


However, she knows this year will be different since she will be teaching very different classes. So instead of reflecting as much, she will be doing more planning to prepare for next year. 



If another person tells me that teachers don’t work during the summer, I might just have to smack them! I don’t know about you but I spend a TON of time planning during the summer. After I get my initial rest (typically I take a week or two off after graduation), I begin planning for the new school year. 

Heck, who am I kidding?! I usually start mentally preparing the new school year around the time I should be writing my final exam. I find myself eager to start over around this time (rather than finish the year) & I am brainstorming how I will do things differently next year. But my summer is filled with lesson planning! I start with my annual plan & then I break it down into my unit plans. Although I have taught for ten years, I still like to plan new activities and lessons every year. My philosophy has always been, “If I am bored, the students are too.” So I try to keep things new and exciting!  





Summertime is the only time we really have to grow as educators. In the middle of the school year, teachers have such limited time that there isn’t the ability to read a new book about education, attend a workshop, or even get coffee with a colleague. This time is important for our growth as educators. Yesterday I actually had the opportunity to have lunch with two of my co-workers, which was really great. Despite not really wanting to talk about school, we, of course, ended up talking about school. 

Despite what people might think, I am taking three different webinars on different instructional practices. I am also attending a one-day workshop and a week-long conference in July as well. I have plans to read a couple of books that I have been interested in and haven't had time to read. 

Here are just a couple of books that I am planning to read this summer to help me grow as an educator: (please note that the following are affiliate links) 



        

Kindle Versions, which are much cheaper: You can actually use this on both a Kindle or a computer as long as you download the free Kindle software for PCs. Go HERE to download (download will start automatically).



      




Last year I read (and recommend): 


   




Oh, if I could only get PD credit for Pinterest pinning, I would never have to go to another workshop or institute again! This is the time folks! Get online & go crazy! All those awesome ideas out there that you never have time to look at whether it is a decorating idea for your classroom, quick recipes to make your home life easier, or a new lesson activity that you can’t wait to incorporate into your classroom…pin it! I suggest you have a Pinterest board entitled, “Next Year,” where you pin all your ideas so that when you want to use them, they are all sitting there waiting for you. And you know what, if you get a little distracted by something fun, enjoy it! After all, it is summertime and according to most people, we don’t work in the summer anyways! 




A special thanks to Carissa & DianaJo for their additions to this post. Be sure you check out their Tpt Stores for outstanding ELA & Math resources. 



  Carissa's mELTing Teacher


2 comments:

  1. Enjoyed reading your post! Thank you for including me and I hope it inspires someone else to build a fire pit. It will cost about $60 for the stones (They are under $2/each and you need 30 of them to duplicate this one). What is it about a fire pit and roasting marshmallows that is so fun and enjoyable?

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    1. I totally agree! There is something so peaceful & relaxing about sitting around a fire pit talking with family & enjoying some marshmallows! Thanks for contributing to this post!

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