Summer is here! Everyone breathes a sigh of relief because now the weather is going to be nice at least most of the time, and there are fun things to do like camping, swimming, and hiking. As a teacher, I am excited about summer for a different reason. It’s time to revise my lesson plans and go to conferences! You may think that I’m being sarcastic, but honestly, I love organizing things. For me, if I have everything organized over the summer, I can face the busyness of the school year with much more confidence.

Doing Nothing

My school year was a bit rough. I had some health issues that were quite a problem for me, so I was excited to be able to take some time to get out of my classroom and refocus. I’m recharging my batteries. I have some time where I am doing absolutely nothing other than reading, cleaning my house, and spending time with family and friends. After moving so quickly all year, it kind of feels nice to kick back with a book that I am not required to read. I have a pile that is calling my name.

There are articles that have been written on the benefits of doing nothing. One of my favorites was by Taran Bassi for Metro in 2015, “In Defense of Doing Absolutely Nothing: 10 Reasons Why You Should Never Feel Guilty.” I loved this article because it was written in a fun style with tons of jokes. Despite the jokes, though, it had some good points. Doing nothing is supposed to be good for you, as long as doing nothing doesn’t take over your life. I suppose I can do nothing for a little while. Besides, cleaning and reading isn’t everything! I’m just not working. I’m also volunteering this summer, so I’m not being totally lazy. But seriously, teacher self-care is just as important in the summer as professional development.

Professional Development

Like most teachers, this summer I’m participating in some professional development. One is a class online through Facing History and Ourselves, “Democracy at Risk: Holocaust and Human Behavior.” Although I teach English, this looks like a fascinating session that I am excited to take part in. Since I have a certification to teach history, it’ll be nice to keep up that history side of my knowledge base.

Facing History and Ourselves offers a ton of sessions that are both local and online. They have a session on teaching To Kill a Mockingbird coming up in the fall that I am looking forward to taking as well. I’m also going to a training session through the Idaho Coaching Network and maybe attending a PEAK conference in August. Overall, there is a lot to learn this summer, and I am excited to learn it.

 Updating Lesson Plans

Of course, this summer I want to refine some of my lessons. Most of the things I’ll be teaching this coming year are units that I’ve taught for two years now, but I have a few new things. I wanted to add some short stories, and I’m going to be teaching The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn next year. So, of course, I have to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn this summer and make my lesson plans for it. I’m looking forward to the challenge and the discussions that this book can lead to in my classroom. I also want to tweak a few things this year, but overall, there isn’t too much to change. This going into your third-year of teaching thing is exciting!

I’m also adding a monthly writing workshop and small reading groups to my classroom this year. This is a change that I am very excited to make, involving a mix of contemporary, modern, and non-fiction books for my students to chose between. This means that I need to read all those books this summer and develop the worksheets to go with those books over the summer. Like I said early though, I love doing this so I’m quite excited.

There are a lot of things to do in the summer as a teacher, from professional development to lesson planning. But there is also time to catch up with family and friends, read some good books, clean your house, and maybe sleep in a little bit. I miss teaching during the summer, but I love the time to get things organized for the next year. The chance to learn new things and become a better teacher is something that I enjoy taking advantage of.

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