It’s hard to believe, but the summer is halfway over, and unless you teach year-round, the summer break is the largest block of time all year that you have to yourself. If you’re like most teachers, you approach summer with anticipation, planning activities and excursions that you might not have time for from September to June.
Take a few moments today to reflect on your summer thus far, and use that information to ensure that you spend the next several weeks following through with your plans – so you return to the classroom this fall refreshed and invigorated!
With August just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how well you’ve managed your schedule so far during the summer. Last week we provided you with several ideas to make the most of your time, including: making staffing decisions early, revising safety procedures if necessary, networking with colleagues, using technology to your advantage, and taking staff input into account.
The students are home. The teachers are on vacation. The front office phones have stopped ringing off the hook. Yes, your workday as a principal may be much quieter now, so take advantage of the summertime to become more efficient, increase your skills and prepare for September with renewed enthusiasm. Here are some ideas for making this happen:
•Make staffing decisions early.
•Brush up on safety.
•Hear them out.
Some people might mistakenly think that when the school year is over, there’s nothing left for a curriculum supervisor to do… but you know the truth: the summer is a time to organize and facilitate professional development activities, oversee summer programs, work with curriculum committees, and put everything in place for the upcoming school year. At the same time, you may find more quiet moments without the pressures of traveling to different schools for meetings, teacher evaluations, etc.
The three areas that suffer most from summer learning loss are in the areas of vocabulary/reading, spelling, and math. In Stop! In the Name of Education: Prevent Summer Learning Loss With 7 Simple Steps, we discussed some activities parents could use with children to prevent summer slide. Let’s add to that list with even more ways to keep children engaged and learning – all summer long.
Summer Learning loss is defined as “a loss of knowledge and skills . . . most commonly due to . . . . extended breaks [during the summertime] ” (from edglossary.org/learning-loss). Many teachers have certainly had the experience of taking the first month of school not only to introduce his or her rules and procedures to the class but also to get the kids back “up to speed” with thinking, remembering what they’ve learned . . . and in many cases, reviewing previous content. With a traditional school calendar, then, this can mean that up to 10% of the school year is spent playing catch-up.
With all of the changes that the Common Core has ushered in, keeping up professionally has been extremely difficult for most teachers during the school year. However, many teachers use the summer months for professional reading, reflecting on past practices, and planning new and improved lessons and activities for the upcoming school year: with that in mind, take a moment to check out the opportunities that are available to ELA educators this summer: