Summer is almost over for me and I’m sad. Not because I don’t want to get back to my students, but because I feel like haven’t had enough time to unwind and do the things that give me life. I have found that it takes about 5 or 6 weeks for me to finally relax and enjoy myself, which only gives me 2 weeks of real summer. Plus, I’m one of those people that packs professional development into their summer.
I’ve been reflecting on the importance of NOT doing teacher stuff during the summer. I’m constantly thinking about what’s next for the year, how I can improve as a teacher, how I can make lessons or classroom management better, etc. So during the summer, I’m still going to start thinking about next year, I’ll probably attend a conference or two, I’ll probably read a teacher book, I’ll probably listen to teacher podcasts, and I’ll definitely get my planner organized with important dates for the upcoming school year. But it is important to create a balance and to make sure we are taking care of ourselves during summer.
I have found five things that I have really enjoyed this summer and wanted to share them with you.
- Take a break: It’s okay to do a little Netflix binging or nap during the day. I’ve also really enjoyed starting my day off a little slower, taking time to make a real breakfast (normally I drink a protein smoothie on the way to work) and enjoy my coffee (usually cold by the time I get to it or I don’t have time to drink a whole cup). We spend so much of our school year taking care of our students, we often neglect ourselves. Our free time is spent planning or grading or just thinking about our students, so don’t feel guilty if you have some time when you are doing literally nothing.
- Read a book for fun: I have a stack of 5 education books I wanted to read this summer. I’ve read none, although I have started. But have have read three books for fun and that makes me happy. I enjoy reading but don’t feel like I can get through a book during the school year. I even read while my students are doing their SSR. Summer is a great time to read that new book you heard about or to join a fun book club. I’m into many different genres, but if you want to read the books I did, I read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (I had it before I knew it was an HBO series) and I love The Magic of Mixology 3 book series by Gina LaManna.
- Travel/Explore: Last summer I went to Japan to visit one of my best friends and this summer I went to MD, DC, and NY with my husband and some friends. These trips brought me so many happy memories and allowed me to get out and explore. But let’s face it, teachers don’t make very much money so traveling around the world may not be on our summer plans. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t explore around your city or do a stay-cation. Take time to be a tourist in your own city and explore the things you normally take for granted.
- Spend time with family/friends: In addition to traveling to see friends, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with other teacher friends and visit with family. It has been great being able to have this time without thinking about work or having a limited amount of time because of work. This time spent has been precious.
- Exercise: I’ve been able to get my exercise back on track. During the school year, it’s easy for exercise be put on the back burner due to being tired or just having less time in the day. I find it difficult to stick to a routine. During the school year, I get to spin twice a week and most mornings I can squeeze in a 30 minute strength workout before I head to work. However, now that it is summer, I cam getting 60 minute workouts in, sometimes getting in two workouts each day, and have time to add yoga back into my schedule. Plus, in addition to having more time to exercise, I find that I am enjoying it more because I’m not rushing through it.
So I hope that you are able to take time for yourself and know that it’s okay to do things unrelated to teaching during the summer. It’s important to reboot and recharge so that come the first day of school, we are ready to give our best to our students for 180 days.