Teachers are looking forward to relaxing during the summer break and taking a rest from all the stress of teaching, but many are still on the lookout for ideas and inspiration for the next year. The trick is to find the balance between resting and planning as they strive to recharge for the new year.
Do you like to plan first or later?
Some teachers like to have a plan in place before they go on break so that they have a sense of where to start and what they want to do when it is time to return to the new school year. Other teachers like to stop completely, take a mind break, and resume their planning near the end of the summer.
Both plans can work, but it is important to do what is best for you. Don't feel you have to do what your colleagues are doing. If you need the mental break now, take it. If you need to feel like you have a future plan in place, create it.
Once you have done what you need to do for you, take that break and relax, refresh, and recharge.
Easier said than done
In my experience, shutting off the teacher brain at the end of the school year takes time. Although the calendar says that school is over for the year, sleeping in, formulating plans, and letting go doesn't start the next day. It takes a few days, or maybe even weeks, to really let it go and relax.
When you finally start relaxing and feeling like you are on holidays, the hype for back to school starts all around you. Ads on tv, in newspapers, and on radio broadcasts begin to bombard you and you start to turn on the teacher brain again.
As tempting as it may be to start doing extensive planning when this happens, it is important to still take time for you. You will burn out faster if you don't find some time to do other things and truly refresh, recharge and re-energize.
One way to combine planning and fun is to do things with your children or grandchildren. You will get to see their reactions and listen to their questions as you go places and explore different events or activities together. This can provide great inspiration and creative thought for implementation of similar experiences in the classroom, because you actually got to experience them instead of just doing research for them.
Today's reality in many school districts, at least here in Canada, is that the classes can be shuffled after the start of the year and teachers could have a totally different group or grade level than they expected. This happened to me a few years ago.
I had planned a big social studies unit for my kids based on the grade I was given. I knew many of the kids and I was confident they would be able to handle the work. I even had my bulletin boards all ready and I was making resources for my lessons. A couple of days before school started, the classes were shuffled due to numbers and class sizes. I ended up going down a grade level and all the work I had done was unusable because it was too hard for younger students to handle. I took down my displays, and decided at the point I was never again going to do intensive planning ahead of time.
Suggestion: If you must do some planning, do some basic planning that can support learning the first couple of weeks of school as you get to meet your students and see what will work for them.
Have a wonderful break!
Different parts of the world have their summer break at different times, so you may be part way through your break and in relax mode while others are anxiously waiting for their break to get here. Wherever you are on the timeline, have a wonderful and refreshing summer break. You deserve it!
Remember: Relax, Refresh, Recharge.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.