5 Ways to Be a Better Teacher by September
After a long academic year of planning, teaching and assessing, many teachers look forward to the summer vacation as a chance to unwind and re-energize, before an enthusiastic return to school in September.
The long summer vacations are an obvious benefit of a career in education, but most teachers still find they spend a good deal of their summer, prepping and planning for the year to come.
It’s also an excellent time to focus on your professional development and keep abreast of the latest findings and advancements in educational matters. This is essential to ensure that your planning for the new year is informed and backed up with current research.
Read on for 5 ways to make your summer vacation work for you, so that the next school year will be your best yet!
There are obvious personal benefits to time spent exploring a new area but travel can also expand your educational horizons. Relish the opportunity to meet new people, source artefacts and resources, take inspirational photographs and observe life from different perspectives.
These experiences can be used in your class to spark discussion, insight and become a catalyst and prompt for creative writing or research reports.
Teachers are in a unique position to apply for fellowships and service travel, where professional development is woven into an international experience.
Many of these opportunities are free or of very little cost to the participant. Although applications are competitive, if accepted, the experience is sure to be life changing for you and potentially your students.
If you are shorter on time or have your own family responsibilities, there are still a variety of summer professional development workshops, that are a little closer to home.
Check with your school board for seminars and workshops planned throughout the summer, or visit Ed Teach to register for courses available across 7 major cities, with a strong focus on technology.
Online Learning and Webinars
Quality professional development is available, without even having to leave your house! There are a plethora of online courses and webinars available at the touch of your fingertips.
- TED-Ed provides videos on curriculum planning, lesson tips and educational reports and research.
- Edweb features webinars on a variety of subjects including Autism and Blended Learning.
If you don’t access any formal training opportunities, still be sure to visit teacher chat forums and connect with other professionals. Sometimes it’s just a chance to vent and commiserate about stressful aspects of the job but often times you will find teaching tips, lesson plans and behavioral management techniques to inform your current and future practice.
If you do nothing else to support your continuing pedagogical development, at least ensure you read voraciously over the summer break. Top educational literary picks this year include:
- Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education by Sir Ken Robinson
- UnCommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids by Eric C. Sheninger
- What Connected Educators Do Differently By Todd Whitaker, Jeffrey Zoul, Jimmy Casas
School days are busy and often there isn’t time to reflect, so take this opportunity to really assess what worked well in your classes this past year and what approaches you want to focus on next year. Make a list of professional goals for the year ahead and remember that learning is essential for all of us, not just for your students. And then take a well-deserved rest, after all, you earned it!