Take a minute and think about the last vacation you took (for those that don’t remember or don’t know the meaning of the word, stare at this picture of a woman on the beach). If you let your mind wander just a little, you’ll start feeling the stress melt away. The screams of kids, the grinding of the pencil sharpener, the slamming of the door… it’s all fading into the distance. Learning is over, now it’s time to just relax. This is obviously how your students feel, right?
But what about for educators? Is the next two or three months really just about clearing your mind and disengaging from the world? Or is this a prime time to recharge professionally as well as personally? Here are some things to try this summer:
1- Unplug. Stop reading blogs, stop checking Twitter, stop updating Facebook, and definitely stop checking email. Take a week (or three) and literally just disconnect from everything.
2- Read a book. You don’t have to annotate it, highlight it, or even learn from it, but have a pad and pen ready and jot down any random thoughts that interrupt your reading. You’ll be surprised at how much more enjoyable reading is when you start capturing those random thoughts and getting them out of your brain.
3- Attend a conference. If you’re like me (an introvert), then conferences are completely draining. However, they can also be a lot of fun. Often, you can meet other like-minded educators and form terrific friendships. Try this: start a conversation with one or two people and when you’re ready to get away from the noise of the conference, take them out to dinner to have a more personal conversation about what you’re each doing to take education forward. Exchange contact information and keep in touch with new ideas. See? Those crazy, noisy conferences don’t have to be so bad…
4- Make time for exercise. This one is despised, I know, but I promise, just a walk around the block every once in a while will change your outlook, especially when you get to July and all you hear from your kids is, “I’m borrrrrred.” Just recently, I’ve started going for early morning jogs. My body hated the first couple of runs, but now I come back invigorated and ready to tackle the day, even if all I’m going to do is read a book or lay on the couch. (Side benefit: summer snacking feels more justified when you went for a morning jog!)
5- Volunteer. There are PLENTY of organizations that would love to have your help during the next couple of months. Find the non-profit, ministry, organization, etc of your choice and find out how you can help, even if it’s just a couple of days out of the month. You’ll feel better about yourself, get out of the house with something interesting to do, and help those in your community. Win-win-win.
6- Prepare for next year. PLEASE don’t do this before the end of July. I’m begging you. But as the new school year approaches, a little planning will go a long ways in getting you ready for new students and/or new curricula. You’ll be able to start the new year off feeling confident and well-prepared, instead of the chaos that surrounds the beginning-of-school rush.
What else do you like to do during the summer months? Let us know!