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8 Fun Ways to Become a Better Teacher This Summer
“It’s easy for you. You have the whole summer to enjoy without thinking about your job. Who wouldn’t want a vacation that long?” You get that a lot, don’t you? All teachers do. People think you’re going on at least two vacations. The rest of the time? Oh, you’ll just spend it binge-watching TV shows on Netflix. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that’s not what most teachers do.
This profession imposes the need for constant improvement. You have new skills to develop, more books to read, and more concepts to master. You have an important goal ahead: become the best teacher you could possibly be. Since you get some time off during the summer, you get a chance to work on those skills.
The good side of this is that you’re still on a summer break. You don’t have to comply with any norms. You can practice, learn, read, or do whatever else you want to do under your conditions. If you have no idea how to use that time to improve your teaching skills, we’ll give you 8 fun activities to explore.
Organize a Huge Summer Camp
How about that? Most of your students will probably go to some kind of summer camp. You can organize this event for students from your school, and take them camping on a nice sight. You’ll learn great things about the nature, you’ll watch the stars at night, and you’ll connect with your students on a deeper level.
If organizing a summer camp is too much of a responsibility for you, you can simply look for jobs that involve teaching at a summer camp. You’ll surely appreciate the extra cash, and you’ll definitely enjoy having a vacation while working at the same time.
Take Part in a Summer Travel Adventure for Teachers
Imagine this: you’re traveling to a great destination at a very low cost. You’re sharing a room with another teacher, and you’re making connections with educators from all around the world. The experiences you share will definitely make you a better teacher.
Educators can take part in many such activities over the summer. Service travel, seminars, workshops, and fellowships offer inspiring professional development opportunities.
Work as a Writing Tutor
Christine Venegas, a writing tutor at BestDissertation, says this would be the perfect summer activity for a teacher to engage in. “The curriculum doesn’t leave you much space to focus on your students’ writing skills, does it? Of course you assign essays and all sorts of projects, but there’s no time for you to offer step-by-step instructions,” - she says. “During summer, you have time. You can create an online program that helps your students understand academic writing. It will be a voluntary activity for them, but they will surely want to be part of it if you make it fun.”
How can you become a writing tutor for your students? It’s easy - just start a blog, create a private Facebook group, and start sharing instructions and writing challenges. If you want to take this a step further and earn some money along the way, you can join an online tutoring service and help students from all around the world to improve their writing skills.
Be an Active Learner
When you have more interesting stuff to share with your students, you’re a better teacher. You can make each lecture more fun by presenting science from everyday life. The summer break is a perfect opportunity for you to get into the role of a student. Explore the courses on Coursera, pick one or few that are related to your area of study, and become a committed learner.
If you have plans for professional development, you can finally start exploring MA and PhD programs and take action towards realization of those goals.
Do you have a cause you’re passionate about? If the answer is yes, you finally have enough time to make this world a bit better. You could combine volunteering with traveling. You can teach children of poor countries how to speak English, for example.
If you want to involve your students in a cause, pick a local non-governmental organization and invite them to take part in the activities. Together, you can all cook food for homeless people, build animal shelters, or do something else that’s important for the community.
Gain a New Skill
You would like to gain some programming skills? That’s a great idea! With such skills, you could develop online learning programs and create a flipped classroom. Maybe you would like to become better at painting? Whatever your interests are, now you have time to commit to them.
Every new skill you gain is an important addition to your skillset as a teacher. Find different ways for your students to benefit from it!
Improve the Lessons
Okay, this will take a lot of work. Throughout the year, you don’t have much time for lesson planning. You try to bring a new perspective, but somehow you end up teaching the same way. Think about different ways to improve the lessons and introduce fun learning activities in them. Ask for suggestions from your students and their parents. Come up with a reward system that will inspire them to study more.
Join a forum for teachers and learn from the experiences of others. All changes in the lessons require a strategic approach. When you decide to implement new tools and techniques, you have to make sure they fit into the classroom’s vibe.
Recharge Your Batteries
You love teaching, but no one can deny that a day in a classroom full of overactive kids is exhausting. Several months spent that way? You really need the rest. It’s great if you can travel, volunteer, teach at summer camp, and engage in tutoring. However, you also have to find the time to recharge your batteries and get ready for the next school year.
Have you tried meditation? Find a good course in your area and join! You will learn how to breathe, calm down, and canalize the stress you experience. That will really make you a better teacher.
Use the summer wisely! Netflix is great, but don’t spend entire days, weeks and months in front of the TV. This break gives you tons of opportunities to become better at what you do, so use it well!
Steven Wesley is an ESL teacher, ed tech enthusiast and education blogger. He is interested in educational, technological and political issues and believes in the mighty power of the pen to change the modern world. Follow him on Twitter.