We all see it approaching on the school-calendar horizon: Summer Vacation. Like a restful oasis in the middle of an unforgiving desert, we see vacation getting closer and closer and feel the excitement building. Oh, the possibilities!!!
When my own children were young, we started creating a Summer Wish List. All four of us would imagine our perfect summer and we would break it all down into a checklist. We would list everything from chalk paintings to cleaning closets, from sleeping late to sweeping porches. We wanted to make sure to carve out time for the magnificent and the mundane, the expensive and the affordable. We didn’t want to miss a minute.
For teachers, summers are not as endless as we wish them to be. Professional development, personal appointments, unfinished projects, seasonal employment, and social catch-ups fill the days faster than we want. How is a hardworking educator supposed to do it all?
Well, we certainly cannot “do it all” without a plan! Consider creating your own Summer Wish List! Here are some suggestions to get you started:
You know what these are. Whether it is organizing the garage, donating clothes from your closets, or holding that impossible yard sale — you know you’ll feel better when they are done. Sprinkle these dreaded projects among fun ideas like making s’mores and pedicures, and you’ll be surprised to find how they don’t seem so bad.
For me, these kinds of projects and ideas seem too big to tackle. Adding items to my list like redesigning my website, planting and maintaining an herb garden, and camping in a tent like the Girl Scout I used to be make me see them as possible and reachable.
Whether in person, through the mail, on the phone, or digitally, make an effort to connect with those you care about. Meet for coffee. Schedule a Skype session. Plan an overnight camping trip. Arrange a play date. Free advice: Everyone is busy — so, carve out the time.
This might look different for everyone — but unplug from your obligations and curl up with a good book, nap in a hammock, sleep late, or relax at the beach. Although you think these things will happen, you will be disappointed if summer passes by and you didn’t recharge. Put them on the list.
Somehow, during 10 months of a school year, I manage to tell myself that I am too busy to be active. Summer is a great time to set up a new routine. Whether you’re biking, jogging, swimming, or walking, being active is a great way to de-stress and set yourself up for a new routine, come back-to-school time.
Feed Your Brain
No summer slide for you! While there is no requirement that your learning has to be school-related — be sure to carve out time to improve your practice anyways. Revamp a unit or refuel your technology skills. Any time invested in your own betterment will pay off in increased student learning.
Make a promise to yourself this summer: Make time for a little of everything. You might not cross everything off your list — but you will have a well-rounded break from your school routine and be better positioned for a reinvigorated return come fall.
So, as I sit and make a list this year (via text!) with my now 19- and 17-year-old, I have to laugh. We will never get through this list. However, knowing what is important to each of us helps us to better plan how we spend our time and energy during the 70-ish days we are “off” for vacation.
Summer, here we come!