When it comes to the summer months, teachers seem to have it made! For three entire months, teachers get to have carefree vacation. Nothing sounds better than that, right?
If only that were true. It’s a common misconception to believe that teachers get to spend their summer vacation free of worries and responsibilities. While they may not be with students or in the classroom every single day, teachers still spend much of their summer prepping for the next school year. Below we’ve compiled what some of the best forward-thinking teachers are up to during the summer.
Just because they’re out of the classroom doesn’t mean teachers won’t spend countless hours updating and curating new lesson plans. Educators often spend a large chunk of their summer discovering new ways to get kids more engaged in learning through new lesson planning. Since education is constantly changing, it makes sense that many teachers spend their free time making plans for the upcoming school year.
“Summer is when I get a bulk of my lesson plans down, especially for the first quarter or so. It is nice to have the freedom to take the time to find new activities and exercises for the kids to use the next year. Plus, it helps me keep things topical!” – Kate McNally, Bilingual Education
Because of limited free time during the school year, these three summer months are the perfect opportunity for teachers to tackle professional development. From workshops to conferences, a lot of educators will spend June through August working on themselves as professionals while knocking out continuing education requirements needed for their teaching credentials or licenses.
Organizing the Classroom
It’s safe to say a classroom refresh is needed after the long school year. After 180 days in the space, teachers often spend their summer reorganizing and redecorating. While decorating a classroom sounds kind of fun, it is also very pricey! Not only are they hanging up new charts and decorations, but teachers are spending their summer stockpiling school supplies and other items to last them throughout the next school year.
“My classroom is an absolute mess by the end of the school year. I like taking the first few weeks of summer vacation to slowly organize things so I can take my time and make sure everything is perfect. It gives me peace of mind for the rest of the break!” – Rachel Rohland, Elementary Education
Learning & Launching New Tech
The only constant thing about education technology is that it is constantly changing. Those three summer months are the perfect opportunity for educators to catch up on everything new! Many schools roll out new technology over the summer months so that it’s ready to go for the new school year. Whether it’s a new online program, setting up a mobile deployment plan or selecting a new classroom charging station, there’s a lot that can be explored and learned within three months.
During the school year, a teacher’s workday doesn’t end when they leave the classroom. Whether it’s weekends spent grading papers, or nights spent creating new lesson plans, teachers do more in a single day than they get credit for! Coupled with this, teachers are constantly “on,” during the day, shaping little minds to pave their futures. So if a teacher needs a little TLC during summer vacation, we certainly can’t blame them!
Teachers, how are you planning to spend your break this year?
Trying to reduce the carbon footprint in your classroom? If not, you should be! There are countless long-term and short-term benefits of going green in the classroom. Not only do green initiatives teach our students about the problems facing our planet, but it teaches students how they can make a difference in the world. By encouraging eco-conscious behaviors with our students, we instill a sense of connection to nature and our planet.
So what’s stopping you? Here are some easy ways to go green this upcoming school year.
Start a Recycling Club
By now, recycling should be a no-brainer. But did you know that approximately 75% of school waste can be composted or recycled? Whether it’s paper, plastic, or cardboard, it’s important to encourage students to be mindful of their refuse and how they can properly dispose of it. By starting a recycling club, students are able to learn the basics of recycling and upcycling and how their small actions can make a difference in the classroom and the world.
In addition to recycling, there are a number of ways you can teach your students to go green through this club. From celebrating Earth Day together, to planting trees at your school, there is no limit to what this extracurricular can do.
An easy way to encourage you and your students to go green is to power down. When you’re not using electronics, or leaving the classroom to go to gym class, turn off all lights and electronics. Another great way to go green by shutting off is implementing a “Power Down Hour” each day where all electronics and lights are shut off for an hour. This is great to do during silent reading or silent work as it encourages students to focus more too.
Green Your Supplies
While you can’t control how green your entire school is, you do have control over how green your classroom is! Choosing environmentally-friendly products is an easy way to go green this upcoming school year. While they can be more expensive, there are a lot of tricks and hacks to help lighten the cost. For example, you can collect gently used school supplies from students at the end of the year to reuse next year, make a lot of your own materials and more. Also, donating any old classroom materials you no longer need is a great way to go green too! Groups like Develop Africa and SCARCE are always accepting donations of new and gently-used items.
While you’re out replacing your notebooks and pencils, don’t forget to green your electronics too. One of the first changes you should make in your classroom is switching over to energy efficient light bulbs. Not only do these light bulbs tend to shine brighter, but they also last longer and reduce the amount of energy needed to power them. Talk about a win! Another great tech change to make is to stock up on reusable batteries. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to just throw out their batteries once they’re done. When batteries end up in landfills, the casing corrodes and soon the chemicals leak into the soil and water. Reusable batteries help prevent waste because they can be recharged and reused countless times.
Don’t forget about e-waste when going green!
Have old computers or tablets taking up space in your classroom? Or are you planning to implement new tech this upcoming school year? Donate those old devices! There are tons of nonprofit organizations and local communities that offer options to help you recycle old electronics.
“1, 2, 3 – that’s enough for me!” How many of you grew up saying this phrase at the drinking fountain? Water conservation is an important unit to teach your students and easy to implement too! Whether it’s catchy rhymes at the water fountain, talking about ways to save water, or encouraging your students to bring reusable water bottles, the possibilities are endless.
You can also conserve water in the classroom without your students even knowing! Installing a simple faucet aerator is a quick and easy way to limit the water use in your classroom. Water aerators are one of the most environmentally-friendly plumbing parts on the market. They are small mesh screens that break up the flow of water, adding air into the stream, so you end up using less. You can find one at your local hardware store for just dollars.
Reduce Paper Use
According to the New York City government, the paper discarded during one school year at a NYC school was equal to about 28 pounds per student, staff member, and teacher. That means a classroom of 30 students can easily use around 840 pounds of paper each and every school year. Reducing your use of paper is an easy way to go green this upcoming school year. We recommend taking notes and teaching lessons on devices like iPads, laptops, or other tablets as an easy way to reduce paper use. Equally, creating lessons and units that can be taught electronically is another great way to reduce paper use.
While employing a mobile device program can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! All of our products are designed to facilitate your iPad, Chromebook, Laptop or Tablet deployments. These universal charging stations boast durable construction, yet adaptable designs to ensure that your multi-device charging station lasts well into the future. See which charging station or cart is right for you here.
Another easy way to go green is to cut down on paper towel use in your classroom. From drying hands to cleaning up spills, it’s not hard for a classroom to go through a roll of paper towels! There are lots of reusable paper towel options available, as well as ones made from recycled materials. While this may seem like a small change, it can make a big impact!
Teachers, how do you plan to go green for the 2019-2020 school year?