Summer time is the perfect opportunity for teachers to kick back, relax and revel in some much-deserved time off, but for the savvy teacher, it's also an excellent time to get in some highly-focused planning and find great deals on classroom essentials. With a whole morning spent in your classroom with just your to-do list and your favorite tunes, you'll be able to tackle tasks like using your quiz maker software to make all your quizzes for the year or whipping up a dozen bulletin boards in just a few hours.
Here are five tips to help you make the most of your summer.
Take Time for Professional Development
If you find it hard to juggle work, family and civic responsibilities during the school year, summer's the perfect time to complete online classes that fulfill your state licensure needs.
Do make sure that you plan vacations around them so that you're not trying to submit a paper via your iPad and a sketchy Wi-Fi connection from a campsite in the Colorado Rockies.
Update Lesson Plans
The first week or two of summer is the perfect time to revisit your curriculum and make changes. Do you need to make a quiz for the unit on the five senses or buy a trade book to read during your study of the Civil War? Ideally, you'll have notes penciled in your planner from the previous year, but if not, things should still be fresh in your mind from having just finished the year.
Stock Up On Supplies
Stretch your precious dollars by taking advantage of the back-to-school sales that stores hold in August. At some point during the year, you're likely to need that pack of markers that regularly cost $4.99 but go on sale for just $1.99 right before school starts. Take an inventory of your classroom, and look over your plans for the year, to see which supplies you're going to need. Also, this is a good time to hit up garage sales--and look for ones held by retiring or former teachers--to get extra books, wall decorations and craft supplies. Don't forget to search for bargains on eBay and Craigslist.
Get the Classroom Ready
It takes a lot of time and effort to get everything ready to start the new school year off on the right foot, so spend a day running off all the photo copies that you'll need, making a list of books to reserve from the library, putting textbooks in each desk and getting the bulletin boards put up. You can get familiar with your quiz maker software so that you'll be able to whip up quizzes whenever you feel the students need a little extra practice in order to master a skill. And don't forget to refill your super-secret stash of coffee and chocolate so you can have a midday treat while the kids are at lunch!
Meet the Students
There's hardly a better way to start out the school year then by investing a little time in writing up a letter or putting together a folded booklet and hand-delivering them to your students so they're familiar with your face, voice and have a ready-made connection so that they won't get the first-day jitters. Send out a postcard, or email, letting parents know when they can expect your visit, and to know you just want a quick meet-and-greet with the child.
With a little planning and pedal-to-the-metal focus while working, you'll be able to knock out your summer to-do list in record time so that you have plenty of time for reading that ever-growing stack of magazines and spending time with the people that matter most in life.