Dear Lesson Plan Toolbox,
I am just finishing my first year of teaching and I’m sure you will understand when I tell you what a year it has been! I know it’s only April, but I am already thinking about the summertime. What do teachers do all summer? I am the type of person where after a day or two of being off I am ready to start something new. I know that this is a great opportunity to make some extra money, but I don’t know that I want a strict schedule to stick to because I like having freedom with my time.
I have also heard from other teachers that you really should rest during the summer because you want to avoid burnout. This year is a rough one, so maybe I should rest this summer and keep occupied doing things I love like hiking and reading. Obviously I don’t want to burn myself out, but how do I know if that will happen since this is my first year teaching and having a summer off? Is the burnout prominent every school year or is this just this rough because of the pandemic?
I am so confused. I just feel like if I don’t do anything I will turn into a coach potato and I truly don’t want that to happen. If you have any thoughts or ideas, I’d love to hear what you think.
Thanks so much,
Dear Summertime Confusion,
I love that you are being so proactive and wanting to figure out what summer will look like for you. Yes, this school year is definitely making the teacher burnout rate drastically increase which is why it is wise that you are taking this time to reflect on your needs and what will make you happy.
Consider How You Feel
First, let’s consider how you feel. After rereading your message, it sounds like other teachers are telling you about teacher burnout. They are 100% correct, that it is very much a reality, but it isn’t EVERYONE’s reality. You may not have the same experience that they do. You may still be experiencing that new job euphoria where your passion is still quite apparent. However, it sounds like you get bored quickly so I would strongly consider if taking the whole summer off is the best decision.
Look For Flexible Jobs
I feel the same way you do in regards to not wanting too strict of a schedule in the summer, so you might want to consider jobs that offer a flexible schedule. Tutoring is an amazing opportunity. You can ask your administrator if you can send home a flyer about tutoring students in your building. Then if you build a small group where they are all working on the same skills, you can easily make a good income. Think about. If you have a group of 4-5 students that you pull for 45 minutes for $25 a meeting...that’s pretty good money! Do that 2-3 times a week, now you’re really talking! Plus, you can set the schedule of when you will meet which allows for that flexibility.
You might also pick up some quick easy money working for DoorDash or InstaCart. Again, these jobs pay well and they offer the flexibility you are looking for during the summer months.
As a new teacher taking professional development classes may not be top on your things to do list, but maybe take this into consideration. Right now, especially, there are so many great online PDs that normally you would have to travel across the country to attend. Take advantage. This is a great opportunity to build on an area that perhaps you need some improvement with whether that be classroom management or using technology in the classroom.
If you do decide to take professional development classes but you’re not sure what to take, please feel free to reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help you find just the right event. Also, many schools have funds available so it is always worth asking your administrative team if you could be reimbursed for the cost of the class.
Hopefully this helps to bring some clarity your way. Remember, ultimately the decision is yours to make. Reflect on how you’re feeling and if you do need to take time off and enjoy a leisurely life. Maybe you start off summer taking time off and tutor or work part time for six weeks. Do what makes you happy because that is the MOST important thing.
As always, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram (@lessonplantoolbox) or via email ([email protected]) and we are happy to serve you however we can. Teaching is an amazing career because summer offers so much flexibility.
If you are interested in learning more about the The 4 Cs of 21st Century Learning, then be sure to click the link for some great ideas.
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