It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . papers are all graded, tests are all taken, report cards are finished, textbooks are turned in, electronic files are organized, the classroom has been packed into carefully categorized boxes (that will seem chaotic in August!) and cleaned so that it virtually sparkles, the count-down is in single digits, and you and your students are actually enjoying all the various end-of-year activities . . . oh, and it’s time to start planning for next year!
After 23 years of teaching, the best advice I can give as you plan for next year is this: Take some well-deserved time off and enjoy unplugging from all things school-related this summer! Seriously . . . there are 8,658 things you need to get done this summer in order to be well-prepared for next school year . . . but the single most important item on that list is to get some much-needed R&R!
You have easily averaged 60 hours or more of school-related work a week. You have given and given and given and you are exhausted to the point of complete physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual depletion. So before you spend the bulk of your summer working a seasonal job, strategizing for next semester, planning an entire year’s worth of lessons, creating 9 months’ worth of fabulous bulletin boards, re-organizing all your digital files, scheduling fall field trips, attending inservice days and professional development workshops, and spending countless hours on back-to-school tasks, give yourself some real time to truly enjoy a restful break. Put your feet up and read a few books (not because you want to assess whether or not they will make a great read-aloud or will supplement a unit perfectly) . . . soak up some sunshine, enjoy those activities you always wish you had time for during the school year, relish time spent with family and friends . . . because the single best gift you can give yourself, your family, and next year’s students is returning to the classroom rested, relaxed, and reenergized!
Oh, and when you are ready to get down to brass tacks and put several hours of thought, reflection, and research into some serious planning for next school year, here’s a must-have resource for you to start your year off on the right foot:
Tools for Positive Behavior Management is packed with tools and tips to help you work effectively with tweens and teens to quietly diffuse potential mishaps, provide students with the encouraging recognition they need, create a positive classroom environment, set your students up for success, and save your sanity! Check it out . . . but not until you have taken some well-deserved time to rest and recharge!
Be sure to check out other ideas for looking ahead, as well as some fabulous resources for next year, from The Literary League: