How Teachers Can Get the Most Out of Summer Break

Teachers Get the Most Out of Summer Break with Self-Renewal

Lets face it, most students and teachers look forward to the summer.  It is after all a time to sit back, relax and turn off the brain. However, this is rarely the case for the educator.

In reality, summer break, is a time when teachers update their courses/lesson plans, maintain their credentials, catch up on the literature, and, oh yes, spend time with family and friends. The last item is often squeezed in between the other obligations. This is where an educator loses sight of the power of summer.

Before a teacher can embrace the next school year, they must sharpen their minds by doing two important things:

  1. De-stress (this includes NOT thinking of school for a bit)
  2. Have FUN

Yes, you heard me correctly! In order to be your best you must take care of yourself first. For a teacher this means wiping the slate clean, so to speak, and using your down time to learn while experiencing new things. Not only will you feel energized for the next academic year, you’ll be amazed how well this way of thinking and doing will benefit the classroom come fall.

Change Your Outlook

First change your outlook. This is includes your attitude. Try to spin tasks into a positive light. For example:

  • “Catch up on literature” becomes reading a new book or rereading a beloved classic
  • “Update courses/lesson plans” could be traveling to a new location or trying something new (i.e. white water rafting) so it can be drawn upon to demonstrate a point to a student come fall

It’s all a matter of perspective. Of course there are necessary tasks that have to be done such as actually writing down a new lesson plan or maintaining your credentials that can’t be accomplished by “experiencing something new”. For these instances, try rewarding yourself with a special dinner out when a task is completed, or driving one town over to listen to an outside concert. Find something realistic that you have always wanted to do during the summer months, then do it as a “pat on the back” for a job well done.

Practice Self-Renewal

To truly de-stress a teacher has to stop thinking of school and focus on themselves. Try taking a break from teaching for 1-2 weeks to push the reset on your mind. Once you have “reset”, practice self-renewal.

In a previous blog I talked about The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. The seventh habit is “Sharpen the Saw”. This habit, sharpen the saw, states that the individual must practice self-renewal in four areas of life; physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual. Since most of the US experiences the nicest weather during the summer, the first area, physical, is easier to address during the summer break than other times throughout the year.


“Take care of your body and it will take care of you.” No other words spoken were ever more true. You must take care of your health in order to thrive and be happy. There is no getting around it. During the summer months, getting “back into shape” or just moving more to improve the state of your health doesn’t have to involve extreme sports or drastic exercise programs.

Keep it simple, make a promise to go outside and take a walk everyday during summer break. If it’s raining, grab an umbrella and go get the mail. No matter what you do over the summer months make a promise to yourself to get more physical and move.


Being social can achieve hidden goals. Take the summer months to reacquaint yourself with your family. Take that family trip you’ve always talked about or let you kids plan an entire day of activities/adventures. However you decide to be social with your family, make sure to enjoy it and bond with one another. New emotional attachments can help the next school year run smoother since building upon your relationships helps you see eye to eye and work together better as a family unit.

Reach out to a colleague who you don’t know very well but need to work with during the academic year. A summer BBQ or a quick morning coffee could be just the setting to break through the ice with a teaching peer. By getting to know someone better on a social level,  an understanding of their viewpoint can be realized, opening the door to better communication and teamwork during the school year.


Don’t reply on rote study and/or the trudging through of a book you don’t really want to read to become mentally sharp during the summer months. Take time out to learn through fun!

  • Plan to read while doing something you enjoy (i.e. take your book to the beach or pool, take a break and sit outside on your patio and read while drinking your morning coffee)
  • Tweet! Peruse social media channels like Twitter and Facebook on your mobile device to brush up on world events/current affairs while waiting in line for the summer blockbuster movie ticket
  • Do Sudoku or a puzzle (crossword or traditional) on a rainy summer day/night
  • Take mini “digital vacations” throughout the summer where you can’t use your smart device to get directions or look up facts/info


Getting in touch with your spiritual side does not always have to do with religion. If formalized religion is your way to get in touch with the human spirit/soul outside of material or physical things, than frequent church activities or studies during the summer months for spiritual growth. If you are not “religious” per se, consider meditation. Meditation does not have to last for a set amount of time; it may just be taking the time to breathe deeply or sit quietly, undisturbed. When you commit to being more spiritual, you commit to “clearing the cobwebs” from your mind, opening yourself up to more meaningful experiences and relationships.

No matter which area of self-renewal you do this summer, remember to have FUN. There is no better way to sharpen your mind to be your best for the upcoming academic year. Remember to change your outlook of the summer break and renew your body, mind and spirit and be ready to have the best school year ever!

Larry Lipman Helps Teachers Get Motivated

Fun Team Building‘s Larry Lipman of  has first hand experience as a teacher, so he knows what teachers need to do to get ready for the academic year. Address the physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of your teaching teams through a fun interactive agenda customized for team building for teachers. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303 for your free 15-minute consultation.

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