10 Ways for Teachers to Make the Most of Summer Break

Summer breakAs the school year wraps up, many teachers find themselves debating the most productive use of their time over summer break.

Below are ten great ways to make your weeks off as productive, enriching, and rewarding as possible.

1. See the World

Whether it’s to Europe, the African Savannah, or just on a classic, All-American road trip, summer break is a great opportunity to go on that adventure you’ve always wanted to take.

Try planning a visit to a new destination each summer if you have the resources available. This will give you something to look forward to throughout the year, and it will reinvigorate your sense of wonder and force you to constantly examine the world from new perspectives.

2. Explore Your Creative Side

Do you have an idea for a book you’ve sat on for years? Or maybe you’re more interested in painting? Or putting together a scrapbook?

Whichever venture you’d like to try out, summer break is the perfect opportunity to finally unleash your creative passion. This can help relieve stress and give you a sense of greater fulfillment, and may even lead you down new avenues in life you had never considered.

3. Enjoy a Staycation

Of course, you don’t need to go halfway around the world to enjoy a vacation. From the beach to our National Parks, there are countless different adventures waiting to be discovered right in your own backyard.

You can set aside a few days for a camping trip with friends at a nearby park. Or, if the great outdoors is not your thing, enjoy a relaxing few days at a nearby hotel to play some golf or just enjoy some well-deserved R&R. It’s your staycation—use it as you see fit.

4. Put Your Skills to Work

It’s not uncommon for educators to feel apprehensive as the school year comes to an end. Some are seriously concerned about how they will make ends meet, while others could just use a little extra cash in their pockets.

Teachers’ skillsets can be very valuable outside of the school setting. You can advertise as a private tutor, teach English as a second language, teach a test prep course, or even teach abroad. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you need them.

5. Catchup on Your Reading

Reading is a relaxing and enlightening way to spend one’s time. Despite that fact, many of us build up an imposing backlog of books over the year.

Fortunately, there’s no need to feel guilty about how much or how little you read between August and Mid-June. Summer presents an opportunity to clear out that backlog and catchup on the reading we didn’t get around to during the school year.

Sites like Goodreads are a great way to keep track of what you want to read, or get recommendations for new books. Just add the titles to your backlist, then pick them up when you have time.

6. Further Your Education

Many of us aspire to continue our education with a Master’s Degree, or even a Ph.D., but just can’t find the time or energy throughout most of the year.

Universities want to attract professionals looking to advance their skillsets, and so they typically try to be as flexible as possible with prospective students. There are numerous on-campus and virtual programs offered by schools around the country that are ideal for teachers who want to enrich themselves over summer break. Just check with your local college or university to see what is available.

7. Pick Up an Exercise Routine

Many teachers feel that they don’t have the energy to pick-up a physical routine in the middle of the school year. This, in turn, results in a more lethargic lifestyle, creating a feedback loop that makes staying healthy nearly impossible.

Starting your new, healthier lifestyle during the summer will make this process much easier. Maybe start hitting the gym a few times a week, go for a bike ride, or simply take a walk in the evening. You can start slow, and as you feel more energized over the course of days and weeks, start increasing the intensity.

This momentum will help keep your routine on-track as the new school year rolls around in the fall.

8. Tackle a DIY Home Project

Most of us have at least a handful of projects we’d like to tackle around the house. Given that many home improvement chains offer a discount for educators, perhaps your great summer adventure can be focused around the house.

Even taking on a small project that will only require a few hours can make you feel accomplished and give you a more positive outlook toward your home.

9. Help Your Community

Educators are passionate about improving their communities—it’s the reason most go into the teaching profession in the first place. That doesn’t need to end when summer begins.

Many people find validation and a sense of purpose in volunteering their time around the community. This can include tutoring low-income students who need attention but can’t afford professional help, sharing food or clothing with those in need, or signing-up for an environmental cleanup project. Whatever you’re passionate about, there is no wrong way to help.

10. Get a Head Start on the School Year

As summer’s end rolls around, it might be a good idea to get a jump on the next school year. You can use your free time during summer to create lesson plans, research materials, and prep the first few units of the school year.

Being prepared ahead of time will make the hectic transition period during the first few weeks of school a much easier process.

The Decision is in Your Hands

The above are just a few popular ideas meant to spark your imagination. Ultimately though, you’re the only person who can determine the best use of your time over summer break.

Think about what most interests you—how you most want to spend your time—and start making plans!

Do you have other original ideas for how to spend your summer break? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.