Even during the summer, there’s still work teachers can do to prepare for the upcoming school year. Although it’s important to use the summer to rest and recharge, those weeks off are also opportunities to invest free time into learning activities. Taking time for professional development will allow you to get an edge over your fellow teachers, and might even allow you to be eligible for a raise. Read on to learn about 10 ways you can make this a summer of learning.
1. Look into CEUs.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are usually required annually. Many states require hours of professional development for license renewal or pay raises. The good news is a lot of these courses can be taken online. The Advancement Courses website https://www.advancementcourses.com/courses/ is an excellent resource that offers CEU classes and has a section with each state’s requirements. Professional development courses like CEUs are vital to ensure your teaching style and knowledge are continually increasing, allowing you to be up-to-date and the best teacher you can be.
2. Find a Mentor.
If you’re interested in growing in your career, feeling overwhelmed, or wanting a support system, you can try finding a teacher to get together with once a month to discuss your successes, your trials, and teaching techniques. If you occasionally shadow each other, you can give each other constructive criticism.
Find professional self-help books for teachers so you can improve your skill-set. You can find books on things like leadership, teaching methods, and how to inspire students.
4. Cultivate a New Skill.
The summer is a great time to work on attaining a new skill, such as finding a better electronic method to communicate with your students, or finding technology that will enhance your classes.
Taking a vacation is good for your own relaxation, as well as a way to grow professionally by experiencing new people, places, and cultures. Seeing more of the world can give you valuable stories to share with your class and help them see that travel and exploration are goals they can strive for. If you teach subjects like history or art, a trip could be a good excuse to collect photos for slideshows, lesson plans, and more!
6. Consider going back to school.
If getting a PhD or getting a Master’s in another subject is doable for you, it might be worth considering. There are many online degree programs you can do at your own pace, or you can find a school that works with a summer schedule. For example, Breadloaf School of English allows students to earn their Master’s by attending classes at one of their campuses each summer.
7. Attend a Conference.
This summer there are a few conferences for teachers. Not only is it an excuse to possibly get out of town, but it also allows you the chance to meet other students and learn about new technology or teaching techniques so you can up your game. Find a list of some upcoming conferences here: https://schoolleadersnow.weareteachers.com/education-conferences-2019/
8. Workshops and Seminars.
It’s possible to find workshops and seminars that can help you learn a new skill or improve an existing one. There are workshops for things like guided reading, nonfiction reading, and closing achievement gaps. See what’s offered in your state and even if it’s a few cities away, go on a short road trip!
9. Take a Course.
If getting a higher degree or in-person workshops aren’t for you, you can always find a reputable website to take an online course you’re interested in. ASCD offers webinars, books, case studies, courses, and more on a wide variety of educational topics including poverty, global competency, and school safety and trauma. http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic.aspx
10. Prep for the Next School year.
Although this isn’t 100% learning based, it’s conducive to having a good school year. You can create or buy storage spaces you were missing, come up with a gameplan to stay more organized, and even plan out your unit, syllabus, and schedule.
This summer, professional development can be yours for the taking. It will allow you to enter into the new school year with new ideas, more confidence, and stronger skills. You have nothing to lose when you decide to invest in yourself.