This week, ClassMax will be sharing a series called, “Summer Like a Teacher,” where we cover the three key parts of a teacher’s summer:  Relaxing, Refreshing, and Renewing.  Today, we continue with my personal favorite…REFRESHING!

I think sometimes the words relax, refresh, and renew can be tossed around interchangeably, but they are actually very distinct in their differences and each has an important place in the summer of a teacher.  When we relax, we allow our bodies and minds time to unwind and let go of the stresses of the last few months of the school year.  Once we are relaxed, we are able to move into the next phase of refreshing.  

According to Merriam-Webster, to refresh means to restore animation or to freshen up.  Doesn’t that sound great?  To be animated or fresh for our school year?  But how often we let our summer break trickle by without much intentional thought given to animating and freshening up our teaching practices.  Well, let’s change that this summer.  Take a look at these simple ways to refresh yourself this summer:

See Others Teach in Action

One of my favorite things to do as a teacher is to watch others teach.  It is inspiring to me, and even in classrooms where the teaching might leave something to be desired (hey, it happens to all of us sometimes…), there is always, ALWAYS something I can take away from another teacher.  During the school year, I don’t get the time to see others teach often because I’m teaching myself.  And obviously, during the summer, we don’t have classrooms to observe, so I rely on videos.  I can get lost for HOURS in the Teaching Channel videos.  I pin them to my Pinterest board for later use, which we will get to in the Renewal phase of our Summer Like a Teacher series.  Seeing other teachers gives me fresh ideas for my classroom and inspires me to become a better teacher, which is really what the refresh stage of summer should do.

Buy Fun School Supplies

I’m sure I’m not alone in the teacher world when I say that school supplies are one of my favorite parts of being a teacher.  Seriously.  There’s nothing more fun to me than a pack of new pens (these are my favorites).  During the school year, all my money goes towards supplies for my students as it should.  But during the summer, I can refresh my own supplies guilt free!  Some of my favorite little teacher splurges include a new pack of Mr. Sketch markers all to myself for my anchor charts, this super cute striped desk caddy, and these fun polka dot clipboards which are a steal for a set of six.

Read an Inspiring Teaching Book

In the “relax” stage of our Summer Like a Teacher series, I stressed the importance of NOT reading anything related to teaching as a way to let your mind go.  But as we move into the renewal stage of summer, go ahead and dive into a book that inspires you to be a better teacher.  Soak up inspiration from successful teachers in all areas of education.  Every summer, I re-read two books that changed and continue to shape my teaching in the classroom:  The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller and (don’t laugh) The First Days of School by Harry Wong. “The Book Whisperer” inspires me to try hard and push more in my classroom and The First Days of School remind me that the basics of teaching are consistent from year to year, no matter how long I have been in the classroom.

The objective during the refreshing part of a teacher’s summer is to surround yourself with what inspires you most about teaching.  Get back to what you love about teaching. Fill your inspiration tank now because we all know that once the school year begins, it is easy to lose sight of what we love about our jobs. Soak up all the goodness of teaching and refresh your teacher heart this summer!

Join us later this week as we tackle the final part of a teacher’s summer… renewal!

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