Generally speaking, there are usually 2 types of “summer teachers”. First, you have the teachers who want absolutely nothing to do with anything educational or school planning related. Second, you have the teachers who are already pinning activities for the next school year from their beach towel the second week of summer. Which teacher are you??
While I always knew that turning my teacher brain off for a long vacation was best for me, there was something so inspiring about having a clean slate in August and the entire summer to prepare for it. (#nerdpartyof1)
So, to help balance myself out and keep from working through the whole summer, I had 5 parts of my classroom I wanted to reevaluate or prep each summer.
1) Stations Organization – K-2 teachers know the value of engaging stations, but we also know how time-consuming they can be to set up. Use your summer break to shop all the great sales on efficient storage, and use this time to do all of your cutting/laminating at a leisurely pace instead of blasting through it during your cherished weekends!
2) Library Set-Up – The school I taught at was all about Accelerated Reader and our kiddos absolutely loved it! In order to help them take ownership of their reading, I labeled all of the books in my class library with AR levels and quiz numbers. This made it so easy for my students to grab a new book when it was time instead of having to wait until our next library day. Since it takes forever to set this up, summer time is perfect so you can space out your work time!
3) Substitute Prep – It may sound crazy to think about sick days when you’re relaxing by the pool, but we all know those days will come. Instead of prepping at the last minute, get all of your sub materials prepped and stored over the summer! (If you’re a K-2 teacher, my sub-bundles make this a breeze!)
4) Organize Worksheets – Another time-consuming task is going through your worksheets and getting them organized in a way that is most meaningful to you. I chose to organize everything in hanging files according to TEKS (Texas’s standards). This made lesson planning and getting copies made so easy. While it may take a lot of time to set up, it saves sooooo much during the school year and is so worth it!
5) Classroom Management – Whether you like to keep your same classroom management system each year or change things up, summer is always a great time to reevaluate and tweak. Again, check summer sales or slowly purchase Dollar Spot and Dollar Tree goodies throughout the summer to avoid making large emergency purchases throughout the school year!
Put a Summer spin on it!
These may or may not be applicable tasks for the grade level you teach, but chances are every teacher has things they scramble to get done during Back-to-School or the rest of the school year. Find a few things you think would help make the upcoming year less stressful for you and plan to do them this summer at your leisure. Take your laptop outside for some sun and unit planning! Or spend a couple of days in your favorite pajamas with a good movie and drink while you take your time putting together activities you might otherwise skip for lack of time. Getting to take my time always makes me happier about what I want to accomplish, and more likely to actually get it done! What can YOU get out of the way this summer?