Educators have less summer than everyone else in education-if they get a summer at all. That makes time management and prioritization imperative. You simply won’t be able to do everything you want to do, so what takes precedence?
To paraphrase the old saying, there are three R’s to the educator’s summer: regroup, reorganize, and recharge. Here are some ideas to maximize all three before August.
There are two strategies when it comes to regrouping during the summer: blow it all up or continue on a long-term path. If an initiative didn’t go according to plan last school year, perhaps you want to try something else. If you did make progress on a long-term goal, you might stay the course.
For those who are hitting the reset button, think about who is involved and how it affects their jobs. If you tend to hit the reset button every summer, instructional staff and others around the district or school might grow frustrated at having to reinvent the wheel every year. If it seems as if you’re always chasing the latest and greatest education strategy, reconsider. If all else fails, get back to basics. It might be refreshing to all involved.
If you’re staying the course, there might be ways to refresh how the goals and initiatives are presented at the beginning of the school year. Just like your days in the classroom, the stakeholders occasionally need some novelty to stay engaged with your vision. After that, make sure you continue to monitor the progress throughout the year. Everyone wants to know the score.
Speaking of novelty, you might feel the need to move things around in order to keep yourself engaged. It might be as simple as rearranging your office or filing system, or as complicated as moving teachers from one classroom to another in an effort to organize new pods.
Start small. Think about small-scale changes that have little chance of affecting those around you. No one likes to come back in late July or mid-August and be forced into reorganizing their own practice.
For both scales of reorganization, make sure you know what goals you are trying to accomplish and how you’ll measure whether you and your team have accomplished those goals. Change for change’s sake rarely helps anyone, particularly the person initiating the change.
As we discussed earlier, your summer is shorter than everyone else’s is. Couple that with your tendency to get in before and stay later than everyone else during the school year and you’re probably worn out. You need to reinvigorate not only your mental well-being, but also perhaps also your professional drive.
Mental well-being is easy. Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and your family. This often takes the form of a vacation, which is great. If that seems hard to accomplish, at least get away for a weekend or two. Finally, do things on weekdays that most people don’t get to do, like go to the beach or play some golf. The best way to remind yourself why you’re in education is to do something fun while the rest of the world is working.
Many educators use the summer to learn something new, sometimes in the form of a professional conference. Take this advice: if possible, schedule your conference toward the end of summer. That way it can serve as a way to prime the pump before you go back to work, getting you back into the mindset to change lives. Of course, if the conference is taking place somewhere relaxing, schedule some extra time before or after to accomplish some mental recharging.