Teachers. Summer time is short...yet long. These two months are YOUR time. You have chosen already how you are using them. Did you take a side job? Did you decide to re-plan your lessons? Or did you do the wise thing and chose to just RELAX?
Many professions are pretty balanced. You work 9-5 or 7-6 (...whatever it may be) and you take a few weeks of vacation throughout the year. Teaching is more like...work 24/7 for the fall, winter, and spring, and have two months, plus March Break, and Christmas break with nothing. (Yes I'm exaggerating a little.. :) Though, the contrast is severe. Teachers don't get balance.
Well I am about to present you with another teacher organization post. Many of you will have 'good intentions' and plan to get some 'teachery' things done this summer. And most of you will be left the last week of August thinking 'oops...' because you have nothing accomplished. Teachers love structure..they love routine. So the summer can feel daunting with neither. Yet, at the same time, teachers are thrilled to throw their routines out the window and just BE.
These teacher organization posts are meant to encourage you, my fellow teachers. Encourage you to take the time to plan for your year ahead so that it is less than a 24/7 job, and so that your summer isn't filled with 'nothing'. Don't get me wrong, you NEED to just BE right now..you NEED to just RELAX. So if you haven't yet found the time to do just this, please do! Just remember, a little bit of balance is essential to making that next year go smoothly.
Here is a 'Summer To-Do List' that I wrote a while ago in preparation for a new year of teaching Grade 2 (I changed this post up quite a bit but you can find the original post on The Adventure of Teaching). These four things helped me feel much more prepared when September came around. If all four seem too daunting pick even just one or two to get a head start.
Summer To-Do List:
1. Pre-planned Supply Lessons
All throughout the year it was my plan to make supply lessons. While I am thankful to say I had no days where I had to call in the morning sick, If I had, I would have been scrambling and stressing trying to come up with a supply plan. It is just not worth that extra stress. Having those basic supply days set, will bring a feeling of ease. Plan 3 or 4 full days to diminish that worry.
2. A basket of children's books ready to read with lesson plans/activities.
Whether it be for creative writing, journal entries, a tie to a math or science lesson, or a start to an art project - books are your best friend (Especially in Grade 2!) First, having a box or basket of books separated into seasons and topics are incredibly helpful throughout the year to quickly pick up a book when you have the time to read to the students. Adding pre-made lessons/activities to go with it will take time...and do only what you are able and what you WILL accomplish. Be realistic. Even just having a few lesson or activity ideas in each book would be helpful for you on one of those stressful, packed, report-card filled days when you don't have any energy to think creatively :).
|My container of separated books. I used file folders and a filing container found at Walmart.|
Bulletin boards can be an added stress during a busy time of report cards or grading. It seems like such a silly stress..one that doesn't have to exist. Thinking about your year ahead you can plan your bulletin boards according to seasons and subjects. Whether it be you write down your ideas for each month, or you start a box of the different materials for each bulletin board, getting started on this now, will save you from having to start from scratch later. Again, only plan to do what is realistic for YOU this summer.
4. Organized Binder of Ideas
While curriculum binders may already be set, there are many times when some extra activities are needed for further learning. Having a binder of ideas for each subject will be something you can continually add to throughout the year, and look at for quick inspirations.
***Put some music on, brew a cup of strong coffee (or tea..), light a candle, take out your supplies, and enjoy some organization in the midst of relaxation. :)