It feels good to finally close the book on what must be one of the hardest and strangest teaching chapters in living memory. Over the past four months we’ve mastered Zoom and become experts in remote education. We kept our students safe, built networks to support learning, and still found ways to celebrate graduation! Now, with a 4th of July weekend on the horizon, it’s time to kick back, relax, and enjoy ourselves. At least, we’ll try to do that…for a few days…or maybe we should take a little PD to the beach?
While it’s certainly important for educators to rest and recuperate, summer is also a time for preparation. As a marathon runner, I usually spend my summer months training for the fall. I work on building my stamina, adjust my diet, seek out new equipment, and get advice from veteran runners on the upcoming route. I’ve mentioned before that teaching and running have a lot in common, and summertime training is one of them. So lace up those sneakers and get ready to sweat, the real work is just beginning!
No Pain, No Gain
But where do we begin? Like many training regimens, this is not simply a matter of reading an extra book or checking out some new software (though those certainly help). Rather, it’s about developing a series of habits and goals to facilitate personal growth. The best part is you don’t have to do it alone either. If most athletes train in groups for mutual support and encouragement, teachers can certainly do the same.
The educators at Blue Apple can support your fall preparations with the latest tips, trick, and tools for classroom learning. We may not know what school will look like in the new year, but we can make sure you’re properly prepared and ready for anything. Here are just a few useful resources you can implement to start training this summer.
- Blogs: If you’re reading this blog, then congratulations! You’ve already discovered the first tool for summer training. Educational blogs can keep you abreast of the latest news and strategies being circulated in the teaching world. They can also help you carve out spaces for pressing issues like student equity and social-emotional learning. Aside from Inquiry Insider be sure to check out publications like Edutopia or Cult of Pedagogy.
- Webinars: Reading is good, but sometimes you want a person to walk you through the material step by step. Educational webinars can give you a more comprehensive look at student-driven and project-based learning from the perspective of experienced educators. They also serve as a useful guide for professional development, with subjects ranging from virtual schooling to differentiated instruction. If summer is a time to exercise your knowledge, then consider webinars your personal trainer.
- Social Media: If anyone knows how hard it is for teachers like you, it’s other teachers. And just like any boot camp, it’s helpful to have teammates around who can offer sage advice or push you to succeed. Use the summer to follow prominent educators on social media. Join teacher chats, make friends, and get to know others in your field. You’re sure to find a welcoming community of learners who are all too happy to share their knowledge.
- Videos: Not sure you have time to spare this summer? Then consider getting tips and strategies through videos. This quick and easy resource can teach you the basics of engagement hooks, connections and rapport, and much, much more. These bite-sized videos won’t take up your time and can be watched just about anywhere. They’re the quick mental warm-up you need to stay sharp over vacation.
- Instructional Strategies: Exercise is as much about experimentation as learning. You’re always trying new tools or techniques to build muscles you didn’t even know about. Instructional strategies are the heavy weights of your summer training, and Blue Apple has plenty to choose from. You can practice tiering assignments to improve differentiated learning. Try collecting data to give your students more voice and choice or start journaling for better feedback and assessment. Don’t be intimidated by all the choices. Half the fun is finding out what works for you!
You can Do It!
It’s important to take time and rest during the summer. However, once you’re ready to start training, give it everything you’ve got! Use the resources at your disposal to ensure you’re ready when the first day of school finally arrives. This fall might bring plenty of challenges, but with the right training, I have no doubt we’ll finish with flying colors!