9 Things Every Teacher Should Do Over Summer Break

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Summer break is not just for teacher vacations. Sure, you need to unwind and recharge your batteries, but working to hone your craft is also good medicine for making the next school year your best one yet.

These 9 tips will make every teacher better this summer break and will help your students be better next school year.

1- Read these three books. While there are many amazing books that will inspire you, these three are certain to help you reinvent yourself as an educator.

  • Drive, by Daniel Pink. Everything you ever needed to know about what motivates people, and students, to do anything. This was my life-changing book.
  • Teach Like a Pirate, by Dave Burgess. Arguably the best teacher book ever written. No matter how experienced and good you are, TLAP will make you strive to be better.
  • Assessment 3.0, by Mark Barnes. Okay, this one may seem self-serving, but the throw-out-grades movement is real, and this book shows you how to be part of it and how to forever change how we assess learning.

2 – Reflect. Think about what you did to impact children last school year. Summer break is the perfect time to ask yourself some hard questions. Use the previously mentioned books to help you find the answers.

3 – Join a social network for teachers. Find a Twitter chat, Facebook group, or online book club, and collaborate with other educators. We are better together than we are apart. Here are a few options:

  • #Edchat on Twitter. This feed has powerful information 24/7 and two live chats weekly on Tuesdays.
  • Teachers Throwing Out Grades on Facebook. One of education’s most influential groups, there are thousands of teachers, parents, and students here, talking about how to build an ongoing conversation about learning.
  • Talks with Teachers. This is a growing community of educators, who discuss many education-related topics daily.

4 – Write. Whether you write a guest blog post, a series of Facebook articles, or start your own teacher blog, you should write about education. Share something awesome with the world–a unique teaching strategy or a new tech tool you’ve discovered. You’ll love contributing to the profession.

5 – Tweet. We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again, If you’re not on Twitter, you’re cheating yourself and possibly your students. Twitter connects teachers and students to amazing learning opportunities all over the world. There are thousands of educators on Twitter, eager to join you on a journey to improvement. You can start your tweeting in minutes, and it will enrich you like nothing else.

6 – Attend an education conference. If you can’t make a major conference like ISTE, consider attending an EdCamp, which is free and offers amazing opportunities for professional growth.

7 – Build a new yearlong project. The yearlong project can help you meet many objectives, while giving students the opportunity to take charge of their own learning. Summer break is the perfect time to put all pieces of your project in place, so you can launch it the second school begins.

8 – Listen to some podcasts. Listening to people talk about their experiences or what inspires them to excel is invigorating. Podcasts like the Hack Learning PodcastCult of Pedagogy and Join Up Dots are great places to start.

9 – Commit to change. After reading amazing education books, collaborating with others on social media, writing, reflecting, and listening, commit to at least one major change for the coming school year. Develop a growth mindset, and choose to make kids better, no matter what it takes.

Whether it’s summer break, winter break, or just a relaxing Saturday afternoon, it’s always time to become a better teacher. Any and all of these tips can help.

Be sure to share what you believe every teacher should do on summer break in our comment section.

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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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