Well summer break is days away and with it, time to "recharge our batteries":). With the pressure of common core, the rising rate of poverty, the ever expanding digital divide, the low numbers of minorities (Latinos, African-American students, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, homeless students, students from low socio-economic family backgrounds of all races, etc.) attending 4 year universities/colleges, and increasingly shrinking school budgets, teachers have been inundated with priority mandates throughout the year and still doing a great job dealing with all of this. So how can teachers fully prepare for the new school year? Here are some of my own thoughts as well as some excellent ideas from EDUTOPIA:)
1. Leave your classroom during your prep and socialize a bit with colleagues. Share your successes and close successes with colleagues to get feedback from them as well as offer your own insight on their concerns. It does truly do wonders for the soul to know that maybe some of the issues that you struggled with so did others. When teachers collaborate to find solutions to common problems, they arrive at practical and easy-to-implement solutions. This reduces stress and offers ideas to successfully revise lesson delivery problems for the new school year. Even more beneficial to teachers is that they can start their break without any nagging issues on unresolved lesson issues:)
2. Spend first couple of weeks relaxing--no 6:00 AM alarms:) Reset your biological alarm clock for a later start. Take a brisk daily walk, a morning swim, a jog, a refreshing hike, etc. Grab a coffee/tea at Starbucks and then hit the mall, go to the movies, visit a friend, explore a museum, etc. These activities re-energize with ease. Grab a book you have not have the time to read during the school year and read it now. Set your opening summer schedule to fit your needs and no one else's.
3. Try a few possibly new activities. How about a star party? I have been to several of them with my spouse who is an astronomer. Whole families meet in open areas with minimal light with their telescopes to watch the wonders of the night sky. If you don't have a telescope, it is not a problem. Stargazers will happily share theirs with you. There is a link to finding star parties in the EDUTOPIA (page 4).
4. Take a few fun weekend trips to places you have always wanted to visit, but never had the time to do so due to school demands. There are many travel website deals out there: EXPEDIA, TRIVAGO, HOTELS.COM, ORBITZ, AAA, TRAVELOCITY, KAYAK to name but a few. I am planning a 3 day trip to San Francisco to hit museums, theatre, movies, shopping and 5 star restaurants:). Since BART is available, I will not need to drive.
5. Care to visit another country, go camping, explore a major American city? Save that for July:). You will be in excellent shape at this point to fully benefit from all the rewards that come from such dream outings! I plan on visiting Hawaii in July for a week. My goal is to do nothing but relax by the beach with a good book and take an occasional dip in the ocean:)
Have a great well-deserved summer break--you earned it:)
Denise, Marnie and Cheryl
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