In our district, we are deeply embroiled in summer professional development. Teachers are learning, collaborating, and creating materials for use in the upcoming year in every room I pass as I walk down the hallway. Growing as a teacher is more than just attending a professional development workshop at your school or in your district, though. There is a multiplicity of ways to grow as a teacher throughout the summer. Here are a few ways I would recommend:
- Read a professional book to improve your practices and strategies in your classroom. As a former ELA/Reading teacher, any reading list I suggest is always going to include works by Kelly Gallagher, Aimee Buckner, Ralph Fletcher, and Jeff Anderson. Another list you might want to consult is the group of books published by Dave Burgess Consulting.
- Attend a teaching conference. There are conferences being held all over the country during the summer and they are easy to find just by searching online. I would highly recommend ISTE 2017 and the Midsouth Reading and Writing Conference. I thoroughly enjoyed both when I attended. The great thing about summer teaching conferences is that you meet new people and develop a network of folks with like-minded ideas.
- Check out some educational videos. Peruse what is available within Discovery Education. There are so many different topics available and there is probably one to help your students learn and grow which relate to the standards you teach. You have the option to choose video clips so that the entire video doesn’t have to be included in your lesson if only a portion of it is relative to what you want your students to learn. Let these videos enhance instruction. You might also want to check out some that will provide information similar to what you would experience at a conference. I recommend the Education on Air playlist posted from the December conference. There are lots of choices and inspirational ideas to grow and teach us as educators.
- Listen to some podcasts. I enjoy plugging into my iPod and listening to inspiration while I’m performing menial tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning house. Since I spend some time cleaning and tidying up during the summer, listening to a podcast is a great way to gain some new ideas or be reminded of some that I had forgotten while I am performing one of those dreaded chores. I have also been known to listen while I’m riding my stationary bicycle or walking on the treadmill. I’ve loved listening to the Google Teacher Tribe Podcasts this spring and I highly recommend them to other teachers for listening pleasure. There’s a whole Education Podcast Network with valuable podcasts to help grow you as an educator as well. One of my favorite resources is StoryCorps. I often used their ideas and topics in my classroom to inspire and encourage young writers. They have many wonderful resources but perhaps their most valuable one is StoryCorpsU. So, listen up!
- Get to know what’s going on in your school community. Attend a concert in the park, go to the local farmer’s market, or take in a local landmark. You might take a guided tour at the Frist Center, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Hermitage, or The Carter House. You might visit The Carnton Mansion, the Nashville Zoo, or The Parthenon. There are loads more landmarks of local and area interest! Take your visit a step further and share it. An elementary school principal in Texas encourages his teachers to spend the summer completing a Selfie Bingo. Read his post to get ideas for sharing your summer adventures as you grow and learn about local culture.
Be a lifelong learner and continue to grow – even during the summer!