1. Read something the kids are reading. This is a double win that I don’t have time for during the school year. Chances are, they are picking light beach reads that will entertain you and give you something to talk about next year. I suggest John Green’s Looking for Alaska or The Fault in Our Stars. Other popular books include The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Inheritance Cycle, The Private Series, and The Privilege Series. I like to ask my students right before break which books they recommend.
2. Catch up on sleep. You deserve it! Seriously, after all those late nights grading essays and early mornings prepping lectures. Take a few vacation days to catch up!
3. Attend a conference. There are so many amazing opportunities in the summer. I’m excited for a week long conference I will be attending in San Diego, which I know will be professionally fulfilling and I’m making a little family vacation out of it too! Check out our tips for getting the most out of any conference.
4. Do something just for fun. We make so many sacrifices for our jobs and our students. Take a day or a month to remember your passion for crafts or swimming or bad reality TV! Time for pure fun will revive you come August and get you through that next year.
5. Read an author biography. We help students fall in love with literature every year. Knowing the people behind the books and poems helps take it to that next level (and I certainly don’t have time during the school year to get in that much extra reading!) For something light hearted and appealing to teens, check out Secret Lives of Great Authors or you can pick something more traditional like the Robert Frost Biography of an American Poet ebook.
6. Take a field trip. One year when I was teaching Farewell to Manzanar, I visited Manzanar the summer before and it helped bring in that extra level of passion (plus pictures!). This year, I think I will make it over to the Getty Museum to take in some of the great art.
7. Learn one new edtech tool. Might I suggest some video tutorials from yours truly: Google Drive, Grammarly, Collaborize Classroom, Quizlet, and more! (Click on the tag “technology” in the right hand margin of this page for a full list) If you are not a tech person, don’t overwhelm yourself. Just pick one that would make your life easier or your teaching more effective.
8. Organize your inspiration. Use pinterest, use post-its, or use any other system you like. as long as you inspire yourself and organize the inspiration so you can actually use the ideas in real life.
9. Reflect on the previous school year. A few weeks into the summer, I like to review the course assessments I gave at the end of the school year. With a little distance, I find this review even more informative. Here’s a link to the post about my course assessment.
10. Set professional goals. Set goals in the summer, while you are still rested and idealistic. I like to pick only one or two things to focus on during the year so I can keep my eye on them all year long and not be overwhelmed with a long list. Here’s a post about some of my goals from last year.
What do you think English teachers should be doing over the summer? Any book recommendations? Leave us a comment below.