9 Ways Teachers Can Get The Most Out Of The Summer Break

When schools out, teachers from all over the world feel a sense of relief. Reaching the end of the academic year can feel like you've just run the London marathon. And despite the fact that you love your job (83% of teachers say they do), you know you fully deserve your summer break.

But sometimes, the summer break can seem to come to an end in a blink of an eye. And before you know it, a new academic year beckons. And you wish for an extra week of lie-ins because you don't feel fully recharged (or you simply don't want to go back to school).

Epidemic stress is the main cause for 3,750 teachers going on long-term sick leave in the UK. Recent changes in policy, budget cuts, staff shortages and bigger class sizes, teachers feel they need more than a summer break to recover from the rising challenges they face on a daily basis. 

Even though teachers' union are pushing for a positive change, it is important that you also look after yourself in the meantime. And whilst the summer break tends to be over so quickly, it is important that you make the most of it so you can fully recharge, reflect and feel refreshed for the new academic year.

In this post, we share 9 ideas for you to get the most out of the summer break:

1. Go on Holiday

First and foremost, and if you can, get away from it all. Go abroad or even book a UK-based holiday. Even if it is just for a few days or a couple of weeks, having a holiday will actually make you feel better and give you a fresh perspective.

You could go on a city break and experience a different culture. Or just relax by the pool (with a cold beverage of your choice).

2. Reflect on the Bad

The summer break is an excellent time to review how your academic year went. And as you set aside some time to prepare for the new academic year, review what you felt went really well and what didn't. Being an amazing teacher comes with experience, so it is important that you review the things that didn't go so well so you can improve on them.

3. Digital Detox

In a recent news report, Simon Cowell reported having stopped using his mobile phone for nearly 10 months. Cowell noted improvements in his own mental health and ability to think clearly.

As you may have noticed, we are constantly glued to our devices. And what is more worrying is that there is a significant amount of research which show how prolonged use of digital devices can impact our mental health.

Take some time away from your smartphone or other digital devices. Opt for a physical book, rather than an ebook and keep away from social media. You will notice that you will feel calmer and happier.

4. Look After Your Health

Since teaching can be stressful at times, it can be quite easy for you to resort to comfort-eating to deal with the stress.

If you feel that your diet is affecting your health, then do take time to take an honest look at your eating habits and lifestyle. You can even plan some time to visit the gym more often, or even go to a pilates/yoga class to help relieve you from the stress.

Use the summer break to create your new healthy eating and lifestyle habits that can be carried over to the new academic year.

5. Look At The Digital Options As Part Of Your Lesson Plan

Even though digital technology may have its disadvantages, the advantages are definitely hard to ignore. If you regularly share notes/handouts with your class, you may want to consider adding these notes to a blog. You can inform your students to refer to your blog in their own study time.

Just make sure you add your notes after the actual lesson that way you can ensure your class pays attention to what you say. 

And if you are feeling brave, you can also create your own YouTube channel where you can present your class in front of a camera. Sometimes, students can study better through visual presentation rather than reading text.

6. Revisit Your Goals

The summer break is an excellent time to revisit your goals. Track your progress and see where you would like to be in your teaching career in the next year or so.

7. Start a New Hobby

As tempting as it may be, it can be very easy for you to spend a summer break binge-watching an entire box set series of either Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. But binge-watching, as worrying as it may be with how some entertainment companies are now encouraging their customers to binge-watch, can cause serious health implications with numerous studies showing it can affect your sleeping pattern and your mental health.

Rather than binge-watching, you can use the summer break to start a new hobby or even revisit past hobbies you left behind. Activities like reading, mentoring, walking and drawing can improve your mental health and even alleviate stress.

8. Remind Yourself Why You Love To Teach

As you recharge your batteries from yet another school year, the thought of changing career could enter your mind. And it is easy to see why. The 60-hour work weeks and the ever-increasing workload can take its toll on you.

So take this as an opportunity to remind yourself why you chose to teach in the first place. Look towards your inspirations, your mentors or even books that encouraged you to pursue teaching. You'll be reinvigorated and motivated for the next academic year.

9. Teach Abroad or Online

Perhaps you love teaching so much that you want to continue doing it in summer part-time. You could become an online tutor or assessor to earn some extra bob. Or you could even teach abroad (perhaps in an underdeveloped country) which is incredibly rewarding. Schools all around the world would welcome you with open arms. What you choose to do entirely depends on what you feel is right for you. One of those nine ways might help you have the summer you need. Happy holidays!
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