5 Items for Every Educator’s Summer To-Do List

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photo credit: jking89 via photopin cc
photo credit: jking89 via photopin cc

A teacher’s summer may be about much needed R&R. After a long, stressful school year, decompressing and refueling your batteries is crucial.

But an educator’s work is never done, so while gardening, golfing and lounging at the beach, it’s important to mix in some activities that will make you an even better teacher than you already are.

Top 5 Items for Your Summer To-Do List
  1. Read: You probably already plan to hang sleepily in a hammock, cuddling your favorite romance or suspense novel, and this is definitely a healthy way to relax. Between chapters, be sure to grab an education book that will inspire you to try something new next year.
  2. For your summer reading list

    Write: Yes, posting on Facebook counts, but another marvelous way to enrich your professional development is writing. You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway to share your thoughts and to reflect. You can start a blog in minutes. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. You can use blogger or Kidblog, and set up a classroom blog that students can use, as well (they’ll love this). Then, post your own reflections and thoughts there, too.

  3. Go mobile: Embrace the mobile learning movement in education. Read about using mobile devices in the classroom, and learn several apps that you can integrate into weekly or daily lessons. When you greet your students in the fall, tell them to bring their iPhones, Kindles and iPods to class. They’ll love you and, better still, they’ll love learning like never before.
  4. Built your PLN: Even though there are thousands of educators on Twitter, this still represents only a fraction of teachers and administrators worldwide. Twitter is the best free professional development tool available today. Forget anything negative you’ve ever heard about Twitter. Schools are creating Twitter pages; Twitter is a go-to communication app for students and athletes. If you don’t join for these reasons, remember, you’ll find more information about your craft from experts worldwide. Not sure where to start? Join Twitter for free, follow me, and follow people on this list, and you’ll be well on your way. Learn all you can, and you’ll never look back.
  5. Go to a conference: Many teachers think this is a crazy idea, because they are too busy decompressing to hang out with educators in an academic setting. Some of the best conferences are in the summer, and while you’ll learn a ton that you can use next school year, you’ll also meet amazing people in the profession and maybe even add some lifelong friends. Not sure where to go? Look at ISTE, ASCD and EdCamp — all tremendous organizations with powerful summer learning opportunities.

Summer break is one of the most important times in a teacher’s life. Remember, though, not only is it time to recharge, it’s a wonderful time to grow professionally.

And for educators, learning never stops.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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