Five Ways Teachers Can Make the Most of Their Summer

Author: Michael Foust

What Do Teachers Do During the Summer?

Every teacher likely has heard it at least once: “I wish I had summers off like you!”


As everyone in education knows, the job of a teacher truly never ends. Even if they’re at home, teachers are often busy preparing for the next class, the next test, the text science experiment. They’re grading quizzes, reading essays, and filling out report cards. They’re answering parents’ texts and emails. They’re answering to the principal/headmaster, too.

Summer Plans

No, teachers don’t sleep all summer. Although it’s sure fun to catch up on a little shuteye! They don’t watch movies all summer. And … they definitely don’t travel all summer.

So, what do teachers do during the summer? They make the most of their time. If you’re a teacher who is looking for new ideas for those months when you’re not in the classroom, try these five ideas:

Relax and recharge!
Let’s be honest: Teaching in the 21st century can be stressful. This is the first generation of teachers that has had to navigate the use of smartphones and the Internet while also addressing the diverse needs of students in an ever-evolving educational landscape. With texting and teacher-parent apps, you’re never truly “off work,” as the boundary between professional and personal life has become increasingly blurred.

Don’t apologize for relaxing and recharging during the summer. Take a vacation. Visit family and friends. Start a hobby. Get your mind off your career and immerse yourself in activities that bring joy and fulfillment. Summer break is not a luxury, it’s a necessity for educators to decompress and rediscover a sense of balance. By doing that, you’ll be a better teacher for your students next semester.

Catch up on chores.
What have you been putting off during the school year? Maybe it was a home project — starting a garden, organizing that cluttered closet or finally painting that wall in the basement. Perhaps it was a school project — developing a new curriculum, initiating a collaborative project with colleagues or organizing your classroom library.

Whatever it is, use this time to breathe life into the ideas that have been simmering on the back burner. The best part: There is no rush! You have the entire summer to get it done.

Make extra money.
There are multiple ways educators can make extra money during the summer: tutoring, teaching online, and teaching during summer school are three popular options. Teachers with certain skill sets (like art, science, and music) often hold summer camps. In some locations, teachers are needed to grade standardized tests. In other locations, teachers are needed to develop and lead educational workshops.

Ask other teachers for ideas. You have a unique talent! The opportunities are limitless.

Engage in professional development.
Attend workshops, conferences or online courses to stay updated on your certification and/or the latest educational trends. Professional development not only enriches your skills but also ensures that you will bring fresh and innovative ideas to the classroom.

Often, such workshops and conferences can be as encouraging as they are educational. After all, you’re networking with fellow educators who have similar interests, trials and triumphs.

Prepare for the new school year.
Take advantage of the slow pace of summer to reflect on last year and consider what, if anything, you should change. Consider the feedback from parents, students, and colleagues. Refine your strategies and approaches. Organize your classroom materials, update your lesson plans, and explore new educational resources that align with your curriculum.

As you prepare for the new school year, don’t forget about yourself. How can you ensure that your new year will be less stressful than the last? Consider establishing a regular self-care routine that includes those things that help you relax. Maybe it’s exercise or reading. Perhaps it’s music. Whatever it is, make yourself a priority in the new year. Only then can you be the teacher you were called to be.

About the Author

Micahel Foust

Michael Foust has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years. His stories have appeared in dozens of publications including Leaf-Chronicle, Toronto Star, Knoxville News-Sentinel and Union-Recorder newspapers. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the husband of an amazing wife, Julie, and the father of four young children.

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