Can you feel it? Summer is right around the corner.
And although everyone loves to tease teachers about getting summers off, you and I know this couldn’t be further from the truth. Between earning required professional development credits, investing in yourselves and your classrooms, and planning for the upcoming year, summer flies by. Many teachers are lucky to get two weeks of actual vacation.
That’s why it’s important to start planning for a productive summer now.
Summer is a popular time to engage in professional development. It’s easier to focus on learning something new when you aren’t distracted by lesson planning, grading, and taking care of students’ needs.
Reflect on the past
But before you sign up for another course, I encourage you to take a minute and reflect on this past year. Well, maybe not this year per se. The 20-21 academic year was a hot mess, with everyone just trying to survive an ever-changing educational landscape.
It is helpful to think about prior years though and ask yourself a series of questions:
- What went well in your classroom? How about not-so-well?
- What subjects did you love to teach?
- Which ones did you like a little bit less? Or maybe even dread?
- Which subjects did you feel confident teaching?
- Which ones made you a little bit nervous or less sure?
- Was there a lesson or even a topic that was a big flop this year?
- What subjects did your students like best? Understand best? Meet the standards most easily?
- Which subjects did you always make time for and fly through the curriculum?
- Which ones did you put off to the end of the day? And skip whenever possible?
- Rank the subjects you teach from your favorite to least favorite.
As you reflect on these questions you will likely notice some patterns. Your favorite subjects were probably often some of your students’ favorites as well. They were probably also the subjects where you covered the most material. And possibly even the ones where your students performed the best.
The subjects you were less excited to teach are probably the ones that got the short shrift. The ones that got skipped on busy days and in which students didn’t perform as well.
Plan for the future
Now, consider your professional development plans for the summer. Are you planning on taking courses in the subject areas you like best? Or looking to gain some new strategies for the ones you struggle with?
If you’re like most people, you are probably planning to take a course in a subject you already enjoy. One you are already good at it.
This makes sense. It is summer vacation after all. If you have to sit through professional development, you might as well enjoy it.
Choose professional development that makes teaching easier
What I’m going to say next might be unpopular, but here’s the truth…if you want to get the most out of your professional development, you should consider taking a course in an area where you feel less confident, less strong. Picking up even a few tips or tricks from an expert will be helpful for your students.
And honestly, for you too.
Imagine how much more you will enjoy teaching a subject once you feel more confident about the content. A few strategies, lesson plans, and activities are all you need to feel comfortable teaching a new topic.
Imagine how much less stress you will feel knowing you have the skills to confidently tackle a subject that used to give you a headache.
Imagine how much time you could save over the course of the year.
And, imagine how much more your students could learn.
Tips for professional development success
I challenge you to make this the year you try something new. Take a course you haven’t taken before. Try a subject you don’t love. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, and work on developing a skill you don’t think you are good at yet.
- Sign up with a friend—you can compare notes, share ideas and hold each other accountable
- Find a key takeaway—a lesson, a strategy, a piece of advice, that you can implement during the first week of school
- Rewatch important lessons from your professional development, if possible
- Consider an online course for flexibility and convenience
- Look for a class with social support, like a Facebook group
- Give yourself grace – it’s not easy to try something new
Do You Want to Be an Awesome Writing Teacher?
If learning to be a more confident writing teacher is on your professional development plan for this summer, I have just the thing.
I have created an online professional development course called the Not So Wimpy Writing Masterclass.
The Masterclass is a step-by-step course that will simplify your writing instruction and dramatically increase the success of your students. I created it specifically for teachers in grades 2-5 and it is focused on giving you strategies that are easy to implement in the classroom.
This course is only offered once each year! And it’s almost time!!! Registration for this year’s course will be available in June. Sign up now for the waitlist so that you don’t miss out!
Have a Not So Wimpy Day,