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Maximizing Summer for a Productive School Year

Every year, as the school year ends, I have grand plans of what I will do over the summer. Redesign my courses, organize my files, convert hard copies to digital, and so much more are always on my list. However life happens, nine weeks go by, and I am always left wondering where the summer went. This summer, I am using my summer steps to make sure I am maximizing my time to set myself up for a productive school year.

Use the following summer steps to make sure you set yourself up for successful school year:

Do the things you have always wanted to do, NOT the things you need to do!

Do NOT spend your time doing the things that you NEED to do. Don’t prep by making copies, lesson planning or getting your room ready. I know this may sound crazy, but you will get these things done on time because you have to. Spend your time doing the things you always said you wanted to do. If you use your summer doing the have-tos you will never get to the want-tos, because something will always come up or you will keep putting it off.

Things on my summer to do list:

  • Create fresh new review games

  • Turn current lectures/worksheets into more hands-on activities

  • Create more opportunities for student choice

  • Create different “challenge levels” of lessons/activities so all students can be pushed to grow

Block out time in your day/week that is dedicated to your work as a teacher.

Start each week by planning out how much time you want to dedicate to your work. You don't have to do work every day, or even every week, but make sure to schedule time. Don’t leave your plans vague and say, “Oh, sometime this week I will create that review game.” You won’t do it. You need to say, “On Tuesday from 10am to 11am, I will create a vocabulary review game for the first nine weeks of Accounting class.” Be specific! Schedule your time! Stick with the schedule!

Get an accountability partner!

Team up with a teacher friend and hold each other accountable. Share your schedule with each other at the beginning of the week and check in on each other during the week. Maybe even schedule time to meet up and work together. This way it's harder to push off your plans for something else, because you don’t want to let your accountability partner down. My accountability partner is my teacher besty, Kelsey!

Find some summer professional development.

Find at least one in person or online summer professional development. Then, take the next week and implement that professional development into your classroom/curriculum in some way. How often do we go to a conference or seminar and get great ideas, but then fall back into the grind of the school year never to put those ideas into action. It’s summer, you have the time now! Schedule it, and do it!

Join a Facebook group.

There are multiple Facebook groups dedicated to different subjects and grade levels of teaching. Join one or more of these groups and interact with peers from all over the world. Teachers are incredibly generous when it comes to helping other teachers. All you need to do is ask. Ask your questions, help other teachers out, and share ideas! I am part of a number of different Facebook groups dedicated to business, accounting, entrepreneurship, and work based learning.

I hope you all have an amazing summer!

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