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How to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation: 7 Simple Tips

This is a guest post contributed by Heather Johnson, who is an industry critic on the subject of university reviews. She invites your feedback at

1228991_girl_and_a_palm_treeFor those of you who are not on summer school duty this year, you are probably bursting at the seams in anticipation of your three-month break. Yes, you need to get through final exams first, but the end is nigh and you couldn’t be happier. There were many altruistic reasons that you became a teacher. However, there is no shame in counting three more amongst that list: June, July and August.

In order to get the most out of your highly anticipated vacation, heed the following tips for teachers:

  1. Decompress – It might take a few weeks to disengage from the stress of your demanding career, so take a little time to unwind before you make any big plans.
  2. Sleep – You missed this aspect of life, didn’t you? Don’t beat yourself up if you sleep in a bit these days. You have earned this privilege.
  3. Have Some Fun – Whether it is a trip to the beach with a fun novel or a night out with your non-teacher friends, it is time to have some fun.
  4. Reflect on Your Future – Once you have relaxed a bit and eased into your summer, it is time to consider where your teaching career is headed and where you might want to steer it.
  5. Consider Some Professional Courses – Have you been putting off your graduate degree? The summertime may be the only time you can squeeze in some courses.
  6. Consider a Part-Time Job – If you have been struggling with bills or just want to try something new, think about a summer job.
  7. Consider Doing Nothing at All – Ah, this is my favorite summer vacation route. Teaching can be a tiring, thankless job that requires you to be “on” at all times. Why not treat yourself to blissful silence and relaxation for three months?

Three months. 90 days. Although you may think of your summer vacation as this gaping oasis of time that you look forward to each year, it can fly by very quickly. Be sure to think about how you want to benefit from your vacation before school lets out. Whether you want to advance your career with some summer workshops or catch up on your TiVo recordings, remember to put yourself first for a change. Goodness knows you can’t do that during the school year!

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7 thoughts on “How to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation: 7 Simple Tips

  1. I can relate to this as a student in a way because I have the summer off. Also, I didn’t plan on doing any summer classes because the first year of college was rough. I’ve can easily speak for myself on some of the key points mentioned in this post. Three months.

  2. The trick to having more-than-a-week of decompression time is not letting yourself devolve into protoplasmic goo in front of the television. (I suppose you athletic types are probably good at that. Me not so much.)

    My strategy involves planned sleeping-in time on a daily basis, but having a series of pet projects that I’ve been putting off until I had the time:

    a) Move my entire CD collection to mp3’s stored on external drives.
    b) Scan all of my old photos into jpeg format.
    c) Clean / reorganize my office (this sounds very workaholic, but understand that my office has a TV/DVD player, surround-sound system, refrigerator, couch… it’s almost comfier than my apartment.)
    d) All those books I got for X-Mas?…. yeah, Summer would be a good time to read some of them.
    e) Spend more time cooking.

  3. 90 days? You get 90 days?!? That sounds like the good old days….

    This summer:
    1. Be professionally developed ’til I bleed.
    2. Read.
    3. Sit on the beach for awhile.
    4. Read some more.
    5. Think about doing some projects around the house.
    6. Ride my horse as much as possible.
    7. Read.
    8. Wish I had money to compete my horse.
    9. Sit around lethargically in the a/c when it hits 103 (reading).
    10. Be professionally developed until I bleed.
    11. Plan
    12. Back to school.

  4. All good advice. I just had to laugh at the 3 months off myth. I try to catch up with all my other interests and not do toooo much planning for the school year. This summer will be trickier since I’m doing a lot of curriculum work — but I’m gonna blog about it so at least I’ll meet my writing goal at the same time (and because I think reflection will be good for the process, and even if my audience is a pretend audience, it helps for motivation). My big rule for myself is that I don’t work with kids (other than my own, of course). As a teacher, it is easy to get sucked into Vacation Bible School, Youth Group, etc., but I need time with adults.

  5. I wish it were 3 months! I think that is one of the biggest myths people who are not in teaching don’t get- 3 months of summer off of work? I wish! I am just finishing my first year teahing (7 days to go!) and the beginning of August I already have professional development and staff meetings to attend…ah.

  6. @savvy-stitch – Be thankful you’re not a band director. We have summer music tutorials throughout the summer as well as starting full up summer band the last week of July. Football games every Friday night from the first week of school until at least halfway through November. Marching contests for five Saturdays in a row in September/October. This includes some contests when we have a football game over three hours away the night before.

    All in all, I get about 6 weeks of summer break…

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