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Eight Things That Will Be On Every Teacher’s Summer “To Do” List

Although side jobs and curriculum work often take center stage for many teachers during the summer hours, it’s a good idea to also take advantage of the opportunities we get during this time that we can’t necessarily capitalize on during the regular school months. No, perhaps we can’t all immediately plow through our long bucket lists in the next two months. But Education World has found some things that will absolutely be on every educator’s “to do” list this summer.

Take longer than 7 minutes to eat a meal.


"Lunch time" in schools tends to be a tiny collection of fleeting moments jammed between the clean-up from one class period and the prep for the next. Teachers are marathon eater, known to be able to ingest the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats needed to manage the rest of their day in the time it takes most humans to decide where to sit. Can you even imagine taking the time to both chew and digest during a meal? Welcome to summer.

Rediscover your name.


For some of us, our given names have been completely replaced with "miss" or "mister" throughout the school year. For some of us, our last name has been repeated over and over and over again that we no longer even hear it: it is just a meaningless and relentless sound that barks from the back of the room and circles us from sun-up to sun-down. During the summer, we start to remember that we have a real name - an identity - and that we once used to be a real human being that did things other than grade and plan!

Drink coffee as a choice, not just a necessity for survival.


Did you know that coffee has both aromas and flavors to it that many enjoy? They're subtle, but when you are not choking it down between a data team meeting and your fifth period class in order to keep yourself upright, you might just notice them. Earthy richness with roasted floral notes, there is the slight possibility you might have the chance this summer to take a sip and breathe!

Say things once.


Unfortunately, this one does not apply to those educators that have their own young children at home. But for the rest, this summer you might be able to - for just a moment - experience the bliss of a world where the sounds your vocal chords produce could be transmitted through sound waves, hit the ear drums of another human being, and be accurately interpreted by their temporal lobe. It's a rarity, and in the world of working with young people, it is spoken of in hushed tones as nothing more than a myth, but all accounts say it is only possible during the hours of summer.

Have a conversation with an adult.


If you're savvy this summer, you might actually have an opportunity to have a full conversation with another adult. Keep an eye out. They can be found in your neighborhood, cleaning gutters and mowing lawns, or at a local watering hole. when you engage with them, you will be surprised by how often the conversation do not start with, "why would you ever?" or end with, "what were you thinking?" Not to mention you realize that sentences like, "please don't put that in your friend's ear" and "please don't feed erasers to the class hamster", are actually not as common as you thought!

Wake up in the morning without the crushing and overwhelming anxiety related to the responsibility that every interaction you have today could potentially change the course of a student’s entire life.


We don't talk about it much, but it's a weight we live with each and every day. Surely, it's a responsibility we have chosen to live with, and one we do not take lightly at all. Nonetheless, it's a lot to wake up to eight months out of the year. This summer, make sure the biggest burden you have to manage - at least for a handful of days - are things like what to eat, what time you want to go to Target, and whether or not you remembered to wear pants today. You'll be surprised by how lovely and light the morning can be!

Do something without being watched.


Teachers are the original "reality TV" show. We’re on stage all day long: every word, every facial expression, every movement closely scrutinized by our temperamental audience. The summer gives you an opportunity to just "be" - whatever that is for you: from shaking your booty to your current jam to simply savoring the moment with a good book and a cup of tea. The joy of "not being watched" is a rare and priceless summer gem.

Look at "not a computer".


You'd be surprised by how many other things there are to look at in the world. A shimmering sunset. A freshly-cut lawn. A ribboned cloud. A wandering ant. All of these things can be looked at without the stabbing glow of pixilated blue light. Be sure to give looking at all the things a try this summer, and let Education World know all about what's on your own checklist!


Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Associate Contributing Editor

Lambert is an English / Language Arts teacher in Connecticut.