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Steve Haberlin's picture
Steve Haberlin is an assistant professor of education at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, and author of Meditation in the College Classroom: A Pedagogical Tool to Help Students De-Stress, Focus,...
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Summer Skills

Summer is an excellent time to learn new skills and sharpen old ones.

Courses in common core standards~ classroom management~ and differentiated instruction all have their value. However~ Id like to offer a slightly different suggestion for summertime training. Think of it as an opportunity to develop a new skill or gain a new experience~ one that might be a little out of the box but could add great value to your classroom.

What do I mean?

What if you took an acting class~ which could enhance your ability to engage students? What if you visited the pyramids of Egypt (if possible)~ which would magnify your knowledge and enthusiasm when reading The Red Pyramid with your students next school year?

Maybe you could spend some time with a local farmer to hone your real-world science skills or volunteer at an animal shelter~ which could help you develop a school partnership with community members~ who might support your students in the form of mentorships~ guest speaking~ etc.

The summer is an excellent time to add a new~ non-traditional skill to your resume or maybe expose yourself to a different educational experience.

One summer~ I visited the Ron Clark Academy~ an innovative school in Atlanta~ Ga.~ and the experience changed my teaching forever.

Another summer~ I began walking dogs at the local shelter~ and in the process~ learned a lot about how a local charity operates. During another break~ I took public speaking classes with Toastmasters~ which forced me to reflect on my presentations and gain valuable feedback from others outside my field.

Id like to begin a list of out-of-the-box trainings teachers could pursue this summer~ and thought maybe you could add to this list.

Public Speaking

Travel to a historic site

Wildlife photography

Organic farming

Finance/real estate


Martial Arts

Computer programming (animation/game design)

Marketing/public relations

Creative Writing/Childs author/illustrator

Study a new language

Visit an innovative school/charter school

What experience do you think would bring your teaching to the next level?