Ahhh, yes, the sweet smell of summer! After another year of standards, conferences, and cafeteria food, we have successfully made it through. Now most of us have several glorious weeks all to ourselves! What should we do with our time? Here are five easy tips for making the most of summer vacation.
- Travel. One of the questions you hear on the first day back is “Did you go anywhere this summer?” With ten weeks off, get yourself an answer! Go somewhere! Do something! You don’t have to backpack through Europe (if you can, though, do it!) but try to get in a daycation or two. Hike a new trail, visit a new landmark, explore a new beach or campground. With so many weekdays off when the crowds and traffic are lighter, try to get out of town during your break.
- Visit. A huge perk to having summer break is that we finally have the free time to catch up with everyone. If you can’t physically visit, then set up a Face Time date and chat over a burger or coffee. It’s close to “being there” and you get to see your loved one’s smiling face.
- Keep teaching! It’s OK! Teaching is our thing! It’s what we do! Teaching over the summer can be extra fun! Teach your grandmother how to use a selfie stick, teach a class at vacation Bible school, or pull over on a roadtrip to teach your kids what a phone booth and dial tone are. It is a fun way to shape our craft in different settings.
- Keep learning! Summer is a great time to try something new! You may be surprised how many free or low cost classes your city’s recreation department offers. I found a local surf shop that offers free stand-up paddle boarding every Thursday, so my kids and I have had a blast learning this new activity. Check out your city’s resources!
- Sleep. Not until noon or anything, but at the very least, rest. As teachers, we are naturally movers and shakers; it is hard for us to sit still. For 180ish days a year, we wake up before the sun rises and return home after the sun sets. Take the summer to give your body a break. One of the greatest feelings during the summer is not setting your alarm. Take some time and finish that cup of coffee while it’s hot, or read through the magazines that have piled up all year. When school starts again, you will be microwaving that coffee at recess and stacking magazines again. Savor it now.
Educators know how crucial summer break is to our mental and physical health throughout the year. The laundry, bills, and home repairs will be there waiting for us when our ten weeks are up. Try one (or all) of the items on this list and make the most of it! Enjoy!
How do you use your summer break to renew and revitalize?
Jennifer DiGioia is a veteran teacher residing in Southern California with her family. Jennifer has dual Bachelor’s degrees in both general and special education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has her Masters in Educational Technology from National University in La Jolla, California. She has worked as a teacher, administrator, instructional coach, and curriculum writer throughout her career. She currently teaches sixth grade in Montclair, California, where she also coaches the cheerleading squad, girls’ basketball team, and co-ed track. When she is not teaching, Jennifer and her family enjoy going to the beach, hiking new trails, and watching sporting events.