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Ok, I know it's the end of the year and all you can think about is sleeping in, maybe getting your feet in the sand, and finally having a little time to relax and eat a meal without having to complete it in under 10 minutes as you grade stacks of papers or help a student in your classroom. As teachers this is one of the best feelings in the world. We hear that last bell ring and suddenly enter into a month or two of bliss and being able reset, refocus, and relax.
But before you get too comfortable, I want to make sure you don't accidentally go and waste your summer break. So here are 5 ways you can be sure to waste your summer break.
1. Attend PD or take an online course
This is definitely one way to waste your summer break. Not only are you going to be taking up your valuable time to learn and start to implement new ideas in your classroom, but why would you want to get ahead of your planning for next year? Even more disturbing is the fact that you might actually learn something that changes your career and your ability to reach more students.
Why would you want to waste your summer on that? Even if you can take an online course from the couch, it's still work...and summer is for relaxing, right?
2. Reflect on your year
Why would any teacher want to worry about the year that is finished! If you don't have to worry about it (or that group of students) why should you reflect on it at all? Plus, it can totally kill your relaxation vibe. I mean, all that can come from reflecting on your year is growth, progress, and maybe some decisions or changes that could save your teaching career. Is that worth your valuable summer vacation?
It's ok...you'll have plenty of time to reflect during those staff workdays, right?
3. Find something new to try
Researching and reading articles is a lot of work, and finding new things takes a lot of time! Why not just keep doing things the way you've always done them in your classroom? Then you can focus on what matters during summer: getting tan and doing as little as humanly possible.
The truth is, learning to implement something new or finding new tech to implement in your classroom can be a pain, so why not just keep using the same tech tools you always have? They worked before and technology doesn't change much anyway. It's not like new ideas or methods could increase engagement or allow more differentiation in your classroom.
Besides, it's summer. There will be plenty of time to find new things to reach more students once the school year starts and the paperwork, meetings, and lesson planning take over.
4. Attend a Conference
Something you should absolutely avoid is attending a summer education conference. The last thing you should waste your time on is connecting with other educators, innovative ideas, or cutting edge teaching methods. My head is starting to hurt just thinking about all the stuff I would have to be exposed to that could make my instruction better.
The worst part of conferences is the travel. Oh man, I mean, a lot of times you actually have to go to a new city, and stay in nice hotels. Then they try to make it so easy for you to relax and enjoy your time that it almost makes me sick!
Staying home is definitely the safer option to ensure you don't waste any of your precious summer time.
5. Open up your teacher bag
So the easiest way to avoid all of these things is to put that teacher bag down as soon as you get home...and LEAVE IT!
Don't think about it, don't open it. Just leave it where it lands until August. Then you won't have to worry about your classroom over summer break. Why would you want to get ahead, improve your instruction, or make your classroom better next year? It's fine the way it is, and it wasn't so bad this year, was it?
So it's settled; this is going to be the best, most relaxing summer ever. We can all just worry about our classrooms and our students when the school year starts. Those 20 minute "planning times" have always been enough...
If you've read this far, you are probably as passionate as I am about teaching. And you've probably picked up on my sarcasm here. Look, we know teachers work as hard (and sometimes harder) over the summer than during some points of the school year. And I know you're not going to waste your summer break, because you're an awesome teacher. I just really want to make sure we're all doing something to take advantage of this time out of the classroom.
Who knows, maybe you'll set yourself up to have the best school year ever.