5 Suggestions on how Teachers Can Stay Sharp During the Summer

Last week I wrote an article about ways parents can prevent the summer slide for their students. Summer slide is not only isolated to students, but teachers can also suffer from the “Summer Slide.” Here are five things teachers can do this summer to stay sharp.

1. Read: The same message we give to kids about reading teachers must do the same thing. Often for teachers during the school year, you do not have time to read. So the summer time is the perfect chance to grab a book or two and do some summer reading. Here are my top 3 recommended summer books 1. Black Students, Middle-Class Teachers by Jawanza Kunjufu. 2. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… and the Rest of Y’all Too. By Christopher Embin. 3. The Ball by Todd Whitaker. 
 
2. Engage in a Twitter Chat: I find myself engaged in Twitter Chats all the time. For me, they serve the purpose for getting into a healthy debate on current educational issues. More importantly, they serve the purpose of engaging and learning from fellow teachers. Some of the best Twitter Chats currently available are #NTChat, a chat for new teachers, #EdChat, which is a new chat where teachers share best practices and discuss issues of the day, and also my favorite and one I join every Tuesday, #BMETalks, it is a talk started by black male educators and open to anyone who wants to engage in best practices for black male students. 
 
3. Learn a New Skill: Out with the old in with the new. As teachers, we must keep our toolbox sharp. The best way to do that is to make sure we have new tools for the new school year. The summertime is the perfect time to explore skills and techniques for your students. You can also enhance new skills. During the summer is the perfect time to learn the latest technology integration for your classroom. Also, maybe you saw an influence of ELL students, so maybe spend the summer learning a new language to better engage with those students and families. 
 
4. Low-Cost Professional Developments: Research some local PD opportunities at school districts and local universities in your area. Many school districts offer PD opportunities for teachers. Often times these PDs are free or cost little to nothing. They are great opportunities to spend one day learning from local teachers on best practices. Also, look online for PD opportunities. If you check out TeachHUB, you can find a professional development that may have a discussion group you can join. 
 
5. Rest: These new skills will not do you any good if you do not get any rest. You will be a better teacher next school year if you take some time to just rest. Find a block in the summer that is your time. Maybe take a week, two weeks, or even an entire month and do nothing I mean absolutely nothing. Taking time off will help you to refresh and recharge. 

Teachers whether you take my advice or not, remember to use your summer wisely you want to make sure you at your best when you return to your students in the Fall! 

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David McGuire

Mr. McGuire is a middle school teacher in Indianapolis, Teach Plus Policy Fellow, and currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Indiana State University for Educational Leadership. Driven by the lack of having an African American male teacher in his classrooms growing up, David helped launched the Educate ME Foundation, which is geared towards increasing the number of African American male teachers in the classroom. A born and raised Hoosier, he is dedicated to improving educational outcomes for all students in Indianapolis. He describes his educational beliefs as a reformer grounded in the best practices of traditional public schools, where he was mentored by strong leaders. David graduated from Central State University with a degree in English and also holds an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University.