What do you do during your summer break? Do you catch up on sleep or spend lots of time with your kids? Do you learn a new curriculum or create new lessons for the upcoming school year? Contrary to popular belief, many teachers don’t take the summer off. They’re often working on professional development, connecting with other educators through social media, teaching a few summer school classes, and much more.

Even though summer can be a busy time for everyone, it’s important to remember that what you do during your summer break can impact your teaching and children’s learning in the new school year. With the unofficial start to summer this past Monday (Memorial Day) and the official start to summer coming up on June 21st, here are a few tips you can use to start your summer off right:

  1. Review and Assess – Finish any work you have left over from the school year, and then take a moment to write down your review of how the school year went. Which activities were a hit with children? Which subjects or topics did your students struggle to learn the most? Make sure you assess why certain things did or didn’t work, so you can make necessary changes for the upcoming school year.
  2. Make a Plan – Making a schedule (or at least a tentative one) for when you want to work on various things can help make your life easier in the summer. Make sure you include vacation and relaxation time in your schedule.
  3. Make Someone’s Day – Send a coworker kind words in an email or Facebook message or give them a small treat for a job well done. You can also nominate a coworker or other educator for our Kaplan Classroom Heroes campaign (nomination period ends on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. ET). Recognizing someone else for the work they do can make you feel good and help you have a more positive attitude going into the summer months.
  4. Let It Go – You’ve reached the end of the school year—now it’s time to let all of the stress and frustrations go. If you’re struggling to unwind and enjoy summer, try writing down what you’re frustrated/stressed about or talking with friends, family, or coworkers about the issue(s).
  5. Take a Break – You probably have a long to-do list of things you want to accomplish during the summer months, but it’s important for you to actually take a break and relax at the beginning of summer. Immediately tackling your summer to-do list can cause more harm than good, so make sure you plan something fun with your family and friends that will help you relax and start summer off right.
  6. Have Fun Exploring – Go somewhere in your community, county, or state you’ve never been before. It can be something as simple as a new restaurant, local business, park, historic building, etc. Starting the summer off with an adventure can positively affect your mindset and encourage you to keep exploring during the summer months. 
  7. Read, Read, Read – Reading is essential to expanding your knowledge of a topic or issue. It’s also a way for you to relax, especially in the summertime. Whether you want to read a resource book about teaching or a fun novel about a summer adventure, taking time to read or planning what you would like to read during the summer is a good way to start your summer break.
  8. Enjoy the Outdoors – You’ve been stuck in a classroom for the majority of the school year, so get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Whether you go for a walk or bike ride in the park or sit outside on your front porch, getting outdoors can make you feel more relaxed and healthier.

How are you starting off your summer break? Share your plans in the comment section below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages!