You’ve made it…the end is in sight. Your school year is ending, and summer is on the horizon! For teachers, this is an exhilarating time of the year. But, before you turn on “auto-pilot” and cruise to the finish line, let me encourage you to finish strong and share a few simple tips with you that I employ to make a smooth transition into summer and ready to return to school in the fall.
Field Day marks the last “big event” in my program for the year. Once this is over, I spend time organizing the equipment in my storage room and making sure everything is put away for the summer. Although it takes some time, this task allows me to take inventory of items that may need to be replaced, and it gives me a personal sense of closure to the year. Don’t throw everything in your storage area and sprint out the door. Take the time to put everything away where it belongs. Once everything is organized neatly in your storage room, it allows you to leave for the summer with the peace of mind knowing there isn’t a cluttered mess waiting for you when you return in the fall.
Assess Equipment Needs
Once you’ve organized your storage space, it is a great time to take note of things you need to order for the upcoming year. Unless I write things down, I tend to forget by the time I need something. There’s nothing worse than needing a certain number of a particular piece of equipment, or a specific color, or an OMNIKIN bladder for an activity you’re planning and then realizing you don’t have what you need. Poor planning makes for poor teaching and ultimately a lesser learning experience for your students. If there are “wish list” items you’d like to have, make note of those too. Take inventory. The summer gives you time to write a grant or come up with a plan of action to try and obtain those materials, but only if you know what your needs are.
Reflect on Your School Year
Either right before school is out or within that first week of summer break, I like to reflect on my program while it is relatively fresh in my mind. I think about the highlights and things I need to tweak or want to approach differently. It often helps me to have a discussion with other PE professionals about how their year went and what things they are looking at changing. Having an honest dialog about our successes and failures gets them out in the open and sort of helps hold me accountable to make the changes I need to make. If I refuse to change or try to get better at my craft, then I begin to start down a path leads to mediocrity. It doesn’t matter what I did this year, I need to get better next year…we all do. As soon as we think we’ve got it all together and don’t embrace change, we begin to lose our effectiveness and our potential to do truly great work with kids.
Summer can be a great time to tackle those PE projects that have been sitting on the back burner of your To-Do list. However, let me encourage you to take a step back and spend some quality time doing something you enjoy with people you love. Don’t even think about work for a while. Give yourself a chance to disconnect from your job and be fully present with those around you. You’ll be surprised how good you feel after your batteries are recharged and you’re ready to jump back into work-related stuff. You’ll know when you’re ready to work on some things for school, and your productivity will be much better than if you’re spending all your time focused on work. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of my planning for the school year takes place in the summer, but I also make time to pursue my hobbies and spend time with family and friends. It is a personal balance that each of us needs to find for ourselves.
As I’m finishing writing this, I’m realizing that depending on when you’re reading this, you may or may not be able to apply these tips, but don’t worry. It is never too late to try something new and begin again more intelligently. No matter if you’re looking for your first PE job or you are a seasoned veteran, if you’re in the middle of summer break or in the dog days of February, there are some definite takeaways I hope you’ll take advantage of. I’d love for you to comment below and share about your end of the year routines and what you do over the summer to be your best for your students in the fall! #AlwaysLearning