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6 Tips for Teachers and Parents for a Successful Summer Break
Melissa Bagneris
June 5, 2019

Summer has begun and another academic year has officially ended…or so we educators like to say, “Tag parents! You’re it!” signed, one exhausted teacher.  

Truth be told, May is always a bittersweet month for myself and most educators alike. We’ve spent ten months with your children, who subsequently become our babies. We grow them socially, enrich their wealth of knowledge, guide their moral development, and flat out come to love them. Then, just like that, we release them forward and onward into the next stage of their growth and learning journey hoping that they carry with them all the tools we have equipped them with as they go.

It is an exhausting (emotionally, physically, and mentally), trying, and daunting task that educators take on vigilantly year after year. Working to deliver ever changing state required standards, developmentally appropriate life skills, character building lessons, and to do so with the true discipline, dedication to progressing children, and compassion that one needs, you have to love it!

To all those who say, “At least you get the summer and holidays off,” I’m here to educate you that this time off you refer to is “recovery time” and it is ten months worth of drama and aggravation well-earned. Plus, it’s not actually the sweet deal it may sound like. Most teachers spend their summers in professional developments, training workshops, finally getting around to household to-do’s that never seemed to get done, and sadly supplementing their income with a second job.

Oh, and don’t forget we’re also raising and teaching our own families who have patiently supported us during ten months of late afternoons in the classroom, long weekends writing lesson plans, and days when after giving to a group of 25 children (or more) we simply have very little left other than fumes to bring home.

I myself teach Kindergarten and this year, of all my eleven years was my most challenging so far, largely due to the fact that my own daughter was completing Pre-K 4. Next year I will simultaneously teach five and six year olds all day and then get off to come home to a five and six year old…basically, I will always be at work! I am a teacher, nurse, counselor, referee, negotiator, detective, comedian, party planner, motivator/coach, basic zoo keeper of organized chaos, and a single parent too!

All this being said, everyone knows you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, educators I say to you it is imperative that you make the time this summer to get a refill. Too often we go straight from giving to our students, and our school, to giving to our families, homes, and preparing for the upcoming school year. Next thing you know, we blinked, and August is knocking at the door. Here are my “Six Summer Tips.” Just some things I do in the summer months to restore my mind, body, and soul for the Fall season.

  • Read a good book or two – not lesson plan guides, not articles about standards and test scores, not data reports! Pure literary enjoyment!

  • Have a cocktail…or severaltake a night here and there to get dressed up and to sit and socialize with other adults as you so rarely get to do during the school year.

  • Workout meditate at home, watch a yoga video on YouTube, or attend a boot camp class! This is less about dieting and weight loss and more about renewing energy, centering yourself, building strength, refueling.

  • Binge watch a guilty pleasure TV showmost of us barely have the time to watch prime time television during our academic year, and it’s fun once we’re off to watch something that doesn’t require many brain cells (Real House wives, Bachelor, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and 90 Day Fiance to name a few!

  • ME timeget a massage, go for a walk, sit and have coffee or a meal in NO RUSH to be anywhere else at all!

  • Lastly, Follow ONE passiondesign this, write that, take a class, research owning, and investing! Set yourself up for the next step and achieve some new goals while having fun and exploring your interests.

To my parents, summer is NOT just a two month countdown to sending the kids back to school! You only get eighteen summers total with your “babies” and half of those will be stolen away or occupied by growing pains, such as choosing fun with friends over fun with family, and the inevitable “I’m getting too old for this stuff” attitudes that arrive younger and younger these days. Here are my “Six Summer Tips” for parents only. Just some ways to enjoy the time, while sustaining their learning, and I’m betting the time will pass easier.

  • Teacher Appreciation Though this technically happens in May, it is the culmination of a cooperative bond that we three shared. Gift cards are nice, but honestly a simple drawing from your student or hand-written card from the heart with thanks really means so much to the teacher and you and your child get to do it together!

  • Buy a WorkbookWalmart, Target, and even the Dollar Store sell practice workbooks. Buy one for the level they just completed and one for the level they are entering in the Fall. This allows for independent review and a little guided challenge.

  • Watch Fun Educational ProgrammingPBS (online PBSkids.org) offers an array of programs geared to a range of age groups that teach social skills, reading skills, math and science, problem solving and much much more!

  • Download Learning APPS Make screen time count with interactive games that extend their learning practice in a technological world. Start with ABC Mouse. Starfall.com is another great site!

  • Summer Campslook for camps that offer both physical and educational activities! Themed camps, such as science camps, are lots of fun! Check online to see what is offered in your community.

  • Finally, Teach without teaching read a story and ask questions to check for understanding, play car games like “I Spy” and “20 questions, sing learning songs from a play list instead of the regular radio, sidewalk chalk write/spell outside, let them help you with errands by sorting laundry, making grocery lists, seeking/finding/counting objects around the house!

Have a great summer! Remember… August will be here before you know it!

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