As summer approaches, many educators find themselves asking, “What in the heck am I going to do with myself for two whole months?”
Initially, the thrill of summer is exciting and much anticipated, but after a while, a sense of reality sets in, and strangely, you may feel a bit uneasy about deviating from a routine that you’ve done for the past ten months or so.
If you are feeling this way or just want some summer ideas to keep you a little more active, then have no worries, my friend!
This ultimate summer to-do list for teachers is all you need to have a satisfying summer that will keep you fulfilled plus re-energized for the next school year!
So let’s get into it!
Let’s start this summer to-do list for teachers with your core personal needs in mind.
First and foremost, before you do anything work-related (because yes, some teachers just can’t seem to detach themselves from their work! 😋), take some time to do activities that help you relax.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Go swimming at a local gym.
- Head to the beach.
- Travel to a favorite destination.
- Join a new exercise class.
- Walk or bike ride in the park.
- Play light sports with your kids.
- Catch up with friends during happy hour.
- Spend time with family. OR
- Catch up on some much-needed sleep.
Do WHATEVER tickles your fancy and brings you great delight!
Just make sure to take some time FOR YOU.
Start a Blog.
Have you ever thought of starting a blog but felt like there is just too much going on during the school year to get it started?
Well, the summer is a great time to get that thang going!
A blog is a great way to share your teaching resources and expertise with fellow educators and parents from all around the globe.
And ‘ya know, you don’t even have to blog about teaching.
I’m sure you have other interests that a particular demographic in the world would be interested in learning about!
If you are, though, interested in starting a teacher blog, first become completely aware about what you’re getting into it. This will save you disappoint, time, and wonder.
Take a look at my first year lessons learned about blogging to get some idea about what it’s like.
Plan for Next School Year.
Before you get too comfortable with summer slumber, take a few days and plan some basics for the next school year.
Search Pinterest for some great classroom ideas and teaching tips, and think about these questions:
Which activities will I do for the first week back-to-school?
Is there a specific classroom management system that I want to implement?
What information will I put in the back-to-school note to parents?
Are there any teaching materials that need to be purchased?
Do I need to familiarize myself with any new curriculum?
Planning a bit now will save you some time once the school year starts. If possible, collaborate with a few teachers from your team to save even more time!
Get a Side Hustle.
This summer to-do list for teachers wouldn’t be complete without a teacher side-hustle mention.
A significant number of teachers work part-time during the summer in order to bring in some extra cash, and there are several good options from which to choose.
Three of the most popular teacher side hustles include tutoring, teaching summer school, and working at a summer camp.
*If you plan on tutoring, charge what you’re worth. This pricing guide for tutoring elementary students should help you out with that!
Working in a retail store, bookstore, coffee shop, or local library are also good choices.
Getting a side hustle will keep you busy, and of course the extra dinero is always nice! 😀
Teach English Online.
Want a summer side hustle that you can do from the comfort of your home?
Then teaching English online is your best bet!
Teach-English-online businesses have exploded in recent years, and there are lots of companies looking for native English speakers to teach English online to children and adults in their respective countries.
China is one of the most popular countries seeking native English speakers.
One of the most well-known English online companies is VIPKID.
It specializes in teaching English to children in China. They pay between $18-$22 an hour, but do know that their interview process is a doozy. 😜
Do a bit of research; there are lots of companies from which to choose.
Organize Your Classroom.
This item on the summer to-do list for teachers is simple and straight to the point.
After the last day of school, stay a few days more, and organize your classroom.
Place teaching materials into labeled boxes, throw away the extra fluff and paperwork, take down your bulletin boards, organize your closet space, straighten up your desk drawer, etc.
Leave your classroom tidy, and if you can, lock your important resources in a safe place because things do sometimes mysteriously disappear during the summer months.
Before reading this post, if you had to guess one of the items on this summer to-do list, it would probably be to read!
Reading takes you to another place, and is oh so nice.
Make a trip to your local library, and check out a few books and/or magazines to enjoy during the summer months.
If you don’t have time to go to the library, online articles, blog posts, audiobooks, and ebooks are a decent substitute.
I particularly like Hoopla.
If you have a library card from your local library, you can “check out” a certain number of digital books or other digital resources from the website.
It is absolutely fantastic, so check it out!
Finding a good book to read in this day and age is so easy, and the variety offered is incredible!
Some of my favorite recommended books:
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
This is a self-help book that is so therapeutic and great for guiding us in how to deal with the obstacles we face in life.
I have had a copy of this book on my bookshelf for over 15 years and refer to it whenever I need affirmation and guidance.
This book is soothing for the soul and helps you develop and maintain a peaceful mindset as you navigate the school year and all of its inevitable challenges!
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini
An intriguing book about how we as individuals are deeply influenced and persuaded by others’ actions and words.
This book really makes you reflect, and I’m sure you’ll have lots of “aha” moments as you realize the significant influence the world (and others) have had on you without your knowledge.
Ever Wonder Why by Thomas Sowell
Thomas Sowell’s body of work is impressive, but this book is a great find to explore during the summer months.
It’s a thought-provoking read that stimulates the mind and gets you to do some serious thinking about controversial topics.
Read only with an open mind!
A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne
This is a good book to read, especially if you work with at-risk youth who live in poverty (and honestly, even for those who don’t).
This is the only “educational” book on my list because I like to satisfy my inner bookworm with more than just “teaching” books during the summer months. 😉
Years ago, I went to a professional development training based on this book, and my mindset has changed ever since when it comes to certain topics related to economic class, educational attainment, and social influence in our society.
It’s amazing how our set mindsets influence how we see (and respond to) our students and others in general.
Take a look at this book if you get a chance.
Participate in Professional Development Seminars or Webinars.
I’m sure it’s not surprising for you to see professional development on this summer to-do list for teachers.
Continue to grow professionally by attending professional development seminars in your city during the summer break.
If no PD opportunities exist in your city, or if none interest you, consider signing up for some professional development courses online.
Though there is a cost for most of these online courses, see if your school district offers professional development reimbursements.
Webinars and e-courses are alternative choices. They are professional development workshops that are usually shorter in duration and easier to digest.
Want to participate in some cool summer teacher workshops that include travel and a stipend?
These summer workshops, targeted to teachers in grades K-12, are located in various cities in the United States.
Each workshop focuses on a humanities theme and lasts for at least one week (some go up to 4 weeks).
You are provided a stipend to help cover the cost of travel, books, and lodging.
These workshops offer a great opportunity for school teachers to travel while growing professionally.
Do check them out, and see if you might be interested in attending one!
Take Up a New Hobby.
Learn how to play a new instrument, sew an outfit, build something, solve challenging puzzles, etc.
Trying new hobbies is a great way to discover hidden talents and interests.
Reflect on Your School Year & Note What Worked/Didn’t Work.
The students have gone home for the summer, you’ve packed up and organized your classroom, and now you’re ready to enjoy the summer.
Before getting too cozy, take some time to reflect on your school year while all is still fresh on the brain.
- What teaching strategies worked/didn’t work?
- How can your classroom management system be improved?
- Which activities were most successful in facilitating student growth?
- Did parent communication foster positive relationships?
These are just a few questions that you may want to ask yourself as you reflect on your school year.
Buy a small notebook, jot down the answers to questions such as these, and throughout the summer, brainstorm ways you will try to improve upon these situations.
You don’t have to jot down the answers all at once. Just have the notebook handy in case an idea pops into your head!
When school is close to starting, review your notes, and try to apply throughout the school year the solutions that you’ve brainstormed.
This strategy works like a charm and has become a mainstay on my personal teacher summer to-do list.
Create Personal and Professional Goals.
As teachers, I believe this item should be on our summer to-do lists every year!
You’ve turned in your professional teaching goals to your supervisor, so now what?
Well, take some time to really focus on you as a person.
What are your personal professional goals?
Do you want to become a principal, literacy coach, or educational consultant in the near future?
Maybe you would like to do more professional development presentations.
On a personal note…
Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?
Have you ever dreamed of teaching abroad in international schools, taking a year off to travel, writing a book, or starting a business?
Writing down your personal and professional goals is powerful!
Some people don’t like planning their life this way, but it’s more of a blueprint and not set in stone.
The objective is for you to really think about what you want out of life and most importantly, to figure out what actions you need to start doing today in order to achieve those goals.
Life is short, and one day you’ll wake up and realize that so much time has passed. 😔
Don’t you want something to show for it?
Creating personal and professional goals add spice to your life and give you a general path to follow.
Of course, you’ll be open to whatever opportunities cross your path, but have a general outline at least.
Just try it and see how it works for you!
Have the heart for a worthy cause?
Then volunteer at a local homeless shelter, or devote some time helping out at the local library, a nursing home, or animal shelter.
There’s always a need somewhere that could use an extra caring, helping hand.
Create and Sell Products on Teachers Pay Teachers.
You’ve most likely heard of Teachers Pay Teachers.
Quite a few educators have on their summer to-do list a note to create more products for their Teachers Pay Teachers store.
Because they can earn some cash of course!
Additionally, Teachers Pay Teachers serves as a creative outlet for educators who like creating and sharing their unique curriculum content.
Have resources already made that you use in your own classroom?
Just spruce them up a bit for marketing purposes and sell those bad boys!
The seller’s forum on the site has great advice and tips from other educators about strategically creating and selling your products.
The great thing about Teachers Pay Teachers is that even after the school year starts, your store continues to make money, passively!
What a great incentive.
Attend Some Local Meetups.
Want to meet some interesting people in your local community or city with interests similar to yours?
Then join a Meetup group!
Simply go to the website, register (it’s FREE!), choose your interests, and then sign up for a few groups to attend.
There are a wide variety of interests groups to explore. Choices range from language learning, dancing, hiking, business, wine lovers, bloggers, mom groups, etc.
Attendance is usually free, but some groups do charge a small fee.
What if none of the Meetups in your area interest you?
For a small fee, you can start your own, and it’s relatively simple to do so.
I highly recommend that you check out this site; it’s a fantastic way to meet people and engage in new hobbies!
Learn Another Language.
Stimulate your mind, and learn another language!
It’s fun, engaging, and so useful.
The language you decide to study will depend on your preferences, job prospects, and geographic location, but if you’re from the United States and want to improve your Spanish, I recommend the company Start Spanish!
Start Spanish offers online group and private conversational classes with native Spanish speakers.
Prices are affordable, and they even offer a trial period.
Make Yourself More Marketable.
Feeling geeky or a little nerdy?
If you’re already fully certified as a teacher, consider signing up to take some additional certification-by-exam educator tests.
Not all states may allow this, but in Texas, there are several exams that certified teachers can take without approval and get extra certifications.
It’s so awesome!
The key is to choose a subject area that’s in-demand.
Are you good at higher-level math or science?
Do you have a high academic level of the Spanish language or a desire to work with special-needs children?
If so, consider getting certified in high school math, science, or special education.
Getting an ESL endorsement is another good option.
This summer, sign-up to take a certification exam for an in-demand area!
Of course, you’ll have to pay the extra fees, but when job hunting in the future, you’ll stand out a little more from the crowd!
Currently, Texas (and I’m sure many parts of the U.S) is in need of Spanish/English bilingual teachers.
If you have what it takes to pass the Texas Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT), go for it!
The test is a doozy, but you’ll be highly marketable.
Read about my journey in passing the Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT) exam!
The easiest thing to do on this summer to-do list for teachers?
Yea, you read right!
Just stay home, watch tv, sleep, lounge, eat, talk on the phone, do WHATEVER you want!
If you’re okay with not having to be busy all the time, this is a great option!
Have no shame!!
Let’s Wrap Up This Summer-To-Do-List for Teachers!
Never be bored again during your summers!
Keep this summer-to-do-list for teachers handy so that you can refer to it whenever you want to give your summer break a little oomph!
Until next time…