We can feel it in the air: Summer break is here! During the last days of school, it’s easy to get carried away by the excitement. But as you know, teachers still have work to do once school ends for students. As you gear up for the summer months, here are five tips for preparing for the upcoming school year while making the most of your time off.

1. Tackle Big Issues Before You Leave

Before you head out the door for the summer, be proactive and try to resolve any remaining problems you may have. Maybe there are students who haven't turned in work or are failing a class. Maybe you need to input final grades and file any outstanding paperwork. Address these issues now. The last thing you want is a call from admin while you’re on vacation.

One of the biggest tasks you might face is the end-of-year classroom cleanout. Unless you’re really into organizing, this can be a huge undertaking. To make things easier, try breaking it up into more manageable pieces over the span of a few days. Work on taking apart bulletin boards one day, then organizing supplies the next.

2. Audit Your Current Lessons

Think back on what you’ve taught this year. Which lessons resonated with students? Which ones fell flat? Was there a better way to explain a specific concept? Did your students offer any feedback on what or how you taught them?

As you reflect on this year’s lesson plans, note each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Review your teaching resources, such as workbooks and handouts, and evaluate whether or not they were effective. When it comes time to plan next year’s curriculum, you’ll have a better grasp of what changes you’d like to make after this review.

3. Don’t Procrastinate Planning

It’s tempting to put off planning until the last couple weeks of summer, but it’s probably not a good idea. Similarly, trying to get everything done right at the start of summer break can sometimes be overwhelming.

Instead, consider scheduling out time each week throughout the summer to focus on school-related projects. What this looks like in practice is up to you. You could block out entire days (“Thursdays are dedicated to working on my literature units.”) or just reserve a couple hours (“On Tuesday afternoons, I’ll spend an hour organizing my classroom library.”).

No matter what your schedule looks like, the important thing is making sure you can plan effectively without sacrificing personal time. Plus, if you hit a roadblock when writing lessons or creating worksheets, you can always come back and work on them later instead of scrambling at the last minute.

That being said…

4. Pick Resources Ahead of Time

We mentioned this tip in last year's blog post in the hope that it wouldn't be applicable to 2022, but, unfortunately, that's not the case. The pandemic's lingering effects continue to impact supply chains in a number of industries, including publishing. A mixture of paper shortages, rising costs, printing plant closures, and workforce disruptions have greatly affected book publishers across the country. Simply, publishers are still having trouble producing enough books to meet high consumer demands.

Because of these issues, it's better to order or request the books you need for next school year as early as you can to avoid any shipping delays. At Prestwick House, we're trying our best to make sure resources get to you as quickly as possible. Most of our language arts materials are ready to ship, including our Literary Touchstone Classics titles and collection of grammar, vocabulary, and reading workbooks.

5. Take Time to Recharge

By now, you've probably been told a thousand times to practice "self-care," and while the phrase has almost lost its meaning, its core message is still valuable. Teaching is undoubtedly a physically and emotionally straining profession. Recovering from the school year, especially the one we've had, means making your needs a priority.

It's easier said than done, but this summer, take time to completely detach yourself from anything school related. (Following the scheduling advice from Tip #3 is a good way to find balance!) Hang out with family and friends, go to your favorite restaurant, explore a new hobby; do whatever you want to recharge. There's no right or wrong way to do it, just that you do it.

What does summer break usually look like for you? Do you have any advice for fellow teachers on maximizing their time off? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!