8 Things Teachers Enjoy During Summer Break

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Yesterday, students at Stevenson University celebrated their graduation at our ceremonies in Maryland. As a professor in the department of Business Communication, I was thrilled to see our graduates walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. They worked hard the last four years, and it paid off.

As for my colleagues and me, that means we are done teaching until August (unless some are teaching a summer course). While we certainly have preparations to make for the Fall 2017 semester (and I will be teaching a newly created course as well that requires a lot of work), we are free to do some things we want to do during our time off. I’ve compiled a list of the 8 Things Teachers Enjoy During Summer Break having spoken to countless teachers who enjoy the down time between the school year. Here are 8 things teachers may do during their summer break:

  1. Clean: The summer months provide ample time to get to those projects that have been sorely neglected. For example, next week I will be tackling the dissection of my garage. We’ve lived in our home for 4 years, and it’s time to do some major cleaning—the kids have grown, and we no longer have a need for toys, old sports equipment, and certain memorabilia. Cleaning out offices and closets are also high on the list of summer projects.Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 10.56.33 AM
  2. Read: During the semesters or school year, we grade a lot of written work, and we bring a lot of that home with us, which leaves little time to read for fun…just ask my book club; I barely have time to finish some of the books we choose throughout the year. Summer reading means we can immerse ourselves into our own pleasures, which includes books we want to read and books we need to read. There is nothing better than catching up on a few good books.
  3. Travel: My colleague, Heather, is off to Italy; others are heading to the Outer Banks; our family is gearing up for another trip to Hilton Head with a stop in Charleston. My husband and I are planning our 20th anniversary trip. Summer is the best time for teachers with children to travel—no one misses school days as everyone is off. Traveling allows us to decompress, de-stress, and relax in a location we have selected. Whether it’s a long vacation or short day trips, travel allows us to become connected to people and places in the most fascinating ways.
  4. Write: Summer allows us time to write, especially for those of us who have to present at conferences, research our discipline, and publish works as part of our academic careers. It also allows us time to write creatively—especially for those of us who have a creative spirit and write on the side.
  5. Exercise: It’s true. I find I have much more limited time to work out during the school year as I have that responsibility along with the responsibility of taking care of my family. In the summer, there is no excuse for not squeezing in a workout, a long walk, a bike ride, or a swim at the pool. Making time to spend on our health and well-being is important, and summer is great time to start making strides towards better health.DSC_0139
  6. Garden: I was talking to my colleague Roger yesterday before graduation ceremonies, and he was telling me about how he couldn’t wait to begin tackling his garden. He, like many others, enjoy the serenity gardening brings us. It’s also a great way to get a little exercise and tend to nature and see the beautiful results of your labor as flowers bloom and veggie and fruit plants provide you with fresh offerings right from your yard.
  7. Reconnect: Being a teacher doesn’t leave a lot of time for social interactions simply because our work and family life commitments can be time consuming, both inside and outside of the classroom. Summer offers teachers time to reconnect with neighbors and friends at neighborhood functions, barbecues, pools, clubs, or at adult socials.
  8. Indulge: Summer provides teachers the time to indulge in our favorite hobbies—and that can involve anything! It could mean attending baseball games, making pottery, taking photographs, running, or painting. It’s important to have hobbies, and the summer months offer teachers time to reconnect with some of their interests and talents.

I know I haven’t hit them all, but I think I’ve covered some of the main things teachers get excited to do during the summer months. If I’ve missed something, please let me know, and truly, HAVE A GREAT SUMMER, FELLOW TEACHERS!

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Five Tips for Finding Balance in Your Life

FindBalanceOne of the most difficult things we deal with on a daily basis is striking that desired balance we want to achieve in our lives: the balance of juggling family, friends, work, commitments, exercise, kids activities, healthy eating, and more. It is not easy to “find the time” to do everything we want; therefore, we must learn to prioritize what is important each day.

Tip 1

Plan each activity in your calendar.

A great tip for helping find this state of “balance” is to plan each activity or task into your daily planner. For example, you should write in your planner or your iPhone calendar that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are days for exercise. Select a time in the day that you want to do that task. Likewise, with other activities or kids activities you engage in, put them in your calendar. We are more apt to “check things off our list” than we are to navigate through those items without a plan.

Tip 2

Don’t overextend yourself.

While the word “no” is typically associated with something negative, use the word “no” to your advantage. Learn to decline things that may send you over the edge with regard to scheduling. If you simply do not have the time or energy in the day, week, month, or year to engage in that particular event or task, simply decline it. Others will step up, and you will have more time to complete things that are more important. This includes social calendars; sometimes we have to pass on something in order to make room for something else. The quote by David Allen, “You can do anything, but not everything,” kind of says it all.DoEverything?

Tip 3

Make room for down time.

In this world of rushing here and there, be sure to make time to relax and enjoy some down time. Take a walk, ride your bike, read a book, watch a movie, or just enjoy appetizers or dessert with family and friends. Making time for ourselves helps clear the mind, and it helps rejuvenate us for the week ahead of work and commitments.

Tip 4

Find a hobby.

Sometimes we are so busy working or going to school that we forget to do some of the things we love. For me, it’s creative writing. For you, it’s probably something else. Taking time to do something we love matters; it helps to satisfy the soul. If we love to paint, paint. If we love to ice skate, go ice skate. If we love our Fantasy Football League, stay involved in it. Whatever it is, we need to have that something that is all ours.

Tip 5

Don’t forget your friends.

Social media has helped us all stay connected in a peripheral sort of way, but it’s not in the same as picking up the phone, writing a letter or dropping a card, or just popping by to say hello to someone you care about. We all need friends in our lives, and staying connected means just that–letting the other person know you care about them. Also, our friends provide us with balance. When we’ve had a difficult day, need a shoulder to cry on, or just need some good old-fashioned girl or guy time to catch up, our friends are there to help us know that we all go through the same things.

Finding balance is not easy. We are bombarded with things to do, places to go, and commitments to work and school. However, if we can break it down and plan accordingly, things will become easier, and we won’t feel as frantic about each week ahead we face.