What Successful Educators Do During the Summer

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 -- Scott Sterling

We’re finally here, the Promised Land of late May! Although no one would blame you for seeking out the nearest beach or golf course as soon as that last bell rings and not leaving until mid-August, dedicated educators like yourself are probably thinking of ways to keep your skills sharp, expand your horizons, and come back from break a better teacher.

Here are some ideas of what successful educators do during break:

Read. A lot.

Let’s be honest: you don’t read during the school year. Sure, you read papers and reports, but very little for yourself. Now is the time to binge. Read anything you want! Consult the bestseller list, pick up the latest trendy Young Adult fiction so you have an idea of what the kids will be talking about next year, or even get some professional development done. The best part of reading is that you can do it anywhere, which brings me to the next topic.

Travel!

Did you know there are certain countries where teachers can take a yearlong paid sabbatical and travel the world? While you’re free to bring that up at your next union meeting, summer is really our only time for travel. Wherever you go, make sure you find a way to share your experiences with your students. It’s hard to believe but a lot of kids (especially in disadvantaged schools) haven’t left their hometown, much less been to a different state or country. Show them what’s possible.

Attend a conference

Not surprisingly, summer is a very busy time for conferences on education and teaching. Networking and expanding your knowledge is just as important for teachers as it is for people in the private sector. You may even be able to find some grant funding to help pay for the trip. Take lots of notes, grab all of the free stuff you can, and be ready to implement some of the great new ideas you pick up. This list of conferences is run by Kennesaw State.

Sign up for the Edmentum Academic Challenge

As I wrote about last week, we’re all looking for ways to keep our students’ brains sharp over the summer break. The Edmentum Academic Challenge is simple: the most questions answered correctly on Study Island during the month of July, averaged out per student, wins a $1000 credit toward Edmentum products. Students will also compete individually in each grade bracket for a $100 Amazon gift card.