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[Professional Development] How to Stay Focused on Teaching Even When You’re Not Teaching

[Professional Development] How to Stay Focused on Teaching Even When You’re Not Teaching

The summer months are a great time for educators to relax and enjoy the warm weather, spend time with family and friends, and recharge before returning to the classroom. But, three months away from teaching makes the start of the school year that much more difficult to mentally prepare for. Here are five easy ways to keep teaching and professional development on your mind during the summer months.

1. Read a book

In the mood for a good read? Thousands of books are published every year about teaching and learning. Amazon has a great list of bestsellers on teaching and learning. If you want something hot off the press be sure to check out Amazon’s selection of newly released (highly rated) education books too. Then, find a beach, porch, patio, or comfy chair of your choice, and start soaking up the inspiration.

2. Attend a webinar

Webinars are a great way to hear about teaching trends and strategies straight from peers and experts. The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has over 150 free webinars archived that are ready for you to watch, plus new webinars to attend live every month, many of which are free. PBS LearningMedia is another site to check out, with numerous free webinars to help you integrate digital media and technology into the classroom.

3. Watch a video/movie

As with books, there’s no shortage of videos out there focused on education and teaching. Want to learn something new about the education system as a whole? PBS’ Frontline series has over 190 nonfiction videos and movies on the topic of education that are free to stream online. In search of classroom inspiration? The TED Talks site is a great place to start for “ideas worth spreading.” The TED search feature allows you to narrow your topic to find outstanding TED Talks on education and teaching. Or just looking for a little entertainment? Check out one of the selections on Edutopia’s list of 20 Movies Every Educator Should See.

4. Listen to a podcast

Have a long drive ahead of you? Want a little entertainment on your daily walk or run? Need background noise while you’re doing chores around the house? Use your time to hone your teaching practice too by putting on a podcast! There’s no shortage of options. Check out Talks with Teachers, which regularly hosts outstanding teachers who discuss their personal stories and challenges in the classroom. Another good option is Free Teacher PD, a professional development podcast created by that shares the newest and most practical ideas for teaching.

5. Attend a conference

Summer is prime time for education-focused conferences. The energy is palpable, the networking opportunities are outstanding, and the ideas are always flowing. If you can convince your administration to help you make the trip, you won’t regret it. Here are five great options to consider this summer:

  • ISTE Conference & Expo, June 25–28, 2017, San Antonio, TX - ISTE is proclaimed as the “premier forum in which to learn, exchange ideas, and survey the field of educational technology.”
  • New Tech Annual Conference (NTAC), July 6–10, 2017, St. Louis, MO - At this conference, you will discover what is possible when New Tech Network “intentionally connects school, opportunity, and equity.”
  • Serious Play Conference, July 18–20, 2017, Manassas, VA - Speakers from around the world share tips on how to move game-based education forward and share their experience in creating or using games in the classroom.
  • BbWorld, July 25–27, 2017, New Orleans, LA - This conference is a great place to “exchange ideas, share best practices, and address today’s toughest educational challenges.”
  • Distance Teaching & Learning Conference, July 25–27, 2017, Madison, WI - Discover how to connect with online learning leaders from around the world, and find innovative ways to teach and support online learners, as well as pick up best strategies, practices, and solutions.

Looking for more inspiration to keep your head in the teaching game this summer? Check out these 21 tips, tricks, and ideas for tech-savvy educators!


These opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Independent School District 192.