Presenting your summer bucket list:

  1. We all know the temptation to start planning for next year, but take a break from everything “teaching” for one week. Or two. Maybe an entire month. You’ll be better when you come back to it.
  2. Read a book that’s just for grown-ups.
  3. If you have your own kids, let them plan one wandering, wild, carefree day. The kind that’s hard to have when there are piles of papers to grade.
  4. Whether or not you have kids, plan one of those carefree days for yourself!
  5. Take this challenge: Go to Target and buy NOTHING for your classroom. Can you do it?
  6. Make an investment in your professional life that matters to you. Maybe that’s taking a course on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about. Maybe it’s catching up on this year’s Newbery winners. Whatever your interests, summer is the time for professional development on your terms.
  7. Make it a goal to connect with a colleague you don’t know very well or with whom you haven’t always seen eye to eye. A summer barbecue or coffee outing is a nice opportunity to get to know one another outside of school walls … and established teacher cliques.
  8. Work on a “feel-good file” that reminds you about the good parts of your job. Include thank-you notes from students, inspirational quotes, that mantra from your favorite teaching professor—whatever makes you think “Yes. This is why I teach.”
  9. As soon as you get that new class list, reach out to every student on it and say hello. You don’t have to do anything fancy or Pinterest-worthy—a simple phone call does the trick. (And it may be the most important step in setting yourself up for success next year!)
  10. Remember, summer break is like New Year’s Eve for teachers: Grand expectations can lead to disappointment. It’s OK if you don’t read every book, finish every house project or cut out every last decoration for next year’s bulletin boards. It’s OK if you don’t have a traditional summer break or are working a second job too. The next few months will still be filled with small, simple joys. Look out for them!

Have something to add? We’d love to hear from you. Share your suggestions in the comments below!

Article written by Hannah Hudson of We Are Teachers.