We asked one of our favorite guest bloggers, Julia Cremin, to share her reflections as a teacher on summer break. We will share the three posts as a "Summer Break" series.
Ahhhh… the summer months. If you listen closely, you can hear the collective sigh of relief from millions of teachers across the country. I come from a family of educators, and during the long winter months in Wisconsin, we joke that the best part about teaching is June, July and August.
In all seriousness, the summer months are critical for any teacher. They provide you the time you need to reflect on the previous year, revise lessons, and make changes and improvements to your instruction.
One trick I’ve learned is to use a sticky note to jot down my reflections and ideas at the end of a lesson. I’ll then stick this note on a hard copy of my lesson plan or assignment handout, and file it away. This is a quick and easy way to remember to make changes or keep doing things the same for the next year.
However, over the years, these files become bulky and filled with out-of-date papers that I don’t need to hang on to. My files need to be purged so that I am only rifling through the most current versions. Additionally, revising and editing files based on my notes, and to meet the Common Core Standards, is a time consuming process.
During the summer break, I can chip away at this and other organizational projects that I simply don’t have time for during the school year. I find that spending 1-2 hours in my classroom once a week throughout the summer gives me the time I need to organize and tweak my lessons based on the notes I made to myself over the previous year.
The summer months are often a very relaxing time to be in the building. In addition to having a clear mind that allows me to focus on organizing my files, typically few other staff members are around. This type of work environment enables me to be my most productive. I can put my favorite music station on Spotify and get down to work! Putting in just a small bit of time over the summer ends up making the return to the school year less stressful.
What would you do with 1-2 hours of uninterrupted time in your classroom?
Julia Cremin is a 6th grade Reading, Language Arts and Math teacher at O'Keeffe Middle School in Madison, WI. She is certified in Elementary Education (grades 1-9) with a minor in Mathematics. This is her fourth year teaching middle school.