After a very long year, summer break is finally here! During the last days of school, it’s easy to get carried away by the excitement. But as you know, teachers still have some work to do once school ends for students. As you gear up for the summer months, here are four tips for tackling next year’s prep while making the most of your time off.

1. Tie Up Loose Ends

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, because the last thing anyone wants is a call from admin while 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. Don’t Procrastinate Planning

It’s tempting to put off planning for the new school year 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 be overwhelming.

Instead, consider scheduling out time 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 (or if you just want to take it easy), you can always come back and work on them later instead of scrambling at the last minute.

3. Read for Fun

Summer is the perfect time to get lost in the pages of a book. After all, what English language arts teacher doesn’t love a good story? Reading for pleasure has been shown to reduce stress, help prevent cognitive decline, and even contribute to a longer life!

Need more stories for your reading stack? We have hundreds of books in stock, from classic masterpieces to new and noteworthy titles. We may market them as a student-focused resource, but our Classroom Library Packs are perfect for your personal library, too. And remember, when you shop with us, you’ll always save at least 25% on every paperback you buy—even if you order only one!

4. Take a Break

Don’t shy away from being a little selfish once classes end. Teaching is undoubtedly a physically and emotionally taxing profession. Recovering from the school year means making your needs a priority. Some teachers find themselves spending the first few weeks of break doing absolutely nothing, and there’s nothing wrong with that—in fact, we encourage it!

This summer, take time to completely detach yourself from anything school related. Following the scheduling advice from Tip #2 is a good way to find balance! Hang out with family and friends, go to your favorite restaurant, hit the gym, 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!