It’s summer break and it’s your chance as a teacher to relax and refuel. But I bet if you are reading this, you are like a lot of teachers and you’re already thinking about next school year. That’s okay, but I challenge you to not think about curriculum or students or decorating your classroom just yet. Instead try using this time to plan how you’re going to take care of yourself this upcoming school year.
Plan Time For Your Interests Outside of Teaching
I know you love teaching, but I also bet you have other interests as well. Summer is the perfect opporunity to make time for these passions and interests, but don’t just make time for your interests on schools breaks. Start planning this summer how you can continue to make time for them during the school year. Whatever you love, find a class or others who share you interests. Schedule a day or two a week that you get to spend your time doing your favorite activities. Finding time for these outside of work interests will help keep you from the dreaded teacher burnout this year.
Map Out Your Future Goals
Summer is the perfect time to start mapping out your personal and professional goals. Take some time to reflect on where you’d like to be in 5, 10, 15 years and then begin to plan the next steps to get there. I recommend writing you goals down and then researching what gaps in experience, education, training, ect you are missing for reaching those next steps. This way you can activitely pursue the right opporunities to help you get to your goals.
Another perk to mapping out your goals is that you can find professional opportunities such as conferences, courses, and workshops throughout the year that support your plan. When schools starts, you can bring your research and plan to your administration to ask to attend these PD opportunities and explain how it aligns to your future plan. Your administration is more likely to support and help pay for a well thought out plan for teacher growth than a last minute idea to go to a PD.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Before you even set foot back in your school, sit down and write a list of healthy boundaries for yourself. Teacher burnout is often from doing too much and saying “yes” too often, so think about how many extra-curricular activities, if any, you are willing to do at one time. Choose a day or two that you leave on time every week (maybe you leave to pursue your interests you brainstormed already). Make a commitment to yourself to say “no” to things that have led you to feeling overwhelmed in the past, and recognize that it is okay to say “no.” You will be a happier, healthier teacher for your students by setting these boundaries.
Teachers use the summer to relax and get ready for the next school year, but before you start planning for students, plan for yourself. Small thought out changes that put you first can make a huge difference. Students need a happy and healthy teacher, not an exhausted, stressed out one. Make yourself a priority this upcoming year and I bet you’ll see a difference in your classroom!