For Teachers, August is the Sunday Night of the School Year

Teachers Still Prepare for School During Summer Vacation

Ready? Set? GO! It's August, and teachers are already working!.

 When the calendar turns to marks the first day of August, many teachers might hear the following comments:

  • Back to school soon, eh?
  • Gotta go back to work?
  • The long vacation almost over?

They may hear these questions or comments from friends and relatives. Those casual acquaintances who might usually pass by with a quick "How are you?" any other time of year, may now take time to gloat and ask, "Back to the grind, right?"  

Apparently, they are operating under the impression that teachers have not thought about school during the weeks of summer vacation.

To the contrary, most teachers use the summer as an opportunity to prepare for the coming school year. 

Summer as Technology Prep

Teacher may use the summer to learn the new technologies that are many of them may have to pilot. Teachers may need to learn how to become comfortable with iPads or Chromebooks. They may have to learn how to become proficient with some of the software applications that are now commonplace in grades 7-12 such as:

  • Google Classroom:  Software designed with teachers and students to connect the class and track their progress.  
  • Google Apps for Education (GAFE) These apps are part of the core suite of productivity applications that Google offers to schools and educational institutions for FREE. 
  • Edmodo: Teachers can quickly create groups, assign homework, schedule quizzes, manage progress, and connects teachers, students and parents with what is going on in the classroom.
  • Remind (formally Remind 101): Personalized communication for  classes, small groups, and individuals with messages to any device.

Summer for Reading and Writing

Teachers may write, blog, or comment on their own blogs or on other education blogs (List of top 500 education blogs).

Teachers may use the summer months for reading education articles from Education Week or from educational publications in their content area such as English Journal, Mathematics Teacher or Social Studies Teaching with Documents.

There are also teachers who leave for summer vacation with newly-adopted curriculum and materials that they want to understand before the start of school. All curriculum materials need to be reviewed before being implemented.

Summer for Professional Development

Teachers may continue their own professional development or connect with others during the summer vacation. Some teachers may take classes or attend webinars, especially if they need training to prepare to teach Advanced Placement courses offered through the College Board or may be the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

The summer vacation gives time to teachers to participate in education Twitter chats  that are ongoing throughout the year.  Twitter chats are helpful to teachers who teach single subject areas (ex: German, Chemistry) known as singletons. Teachers may also may use the summer to maintain online relationships with other educators so that collaboration is easier throughout the school year. 

Summer for Curriculum or Unit Planning

Some teachers may attend department and curriculum work sessions during the summer. Many teachers are working on developing or revising the grade level assessments or performance tasks.

The summer months allow teachers an opportunity to improve on the curriculum. Lessons and units that may have proven to be dusty, clunky, or just downright "meh" could be reworked, revised, or dumped altogether.

For teachers, there is also a great deal of physical preparation in planning for the coming school year. They may develop plans for the classroom or prepare materials. They may spend time finding inspiration for new lessons, or research resources that may work for the students to come. 

August is the Sunday Night

There is also the emotional preparation for the highs and lows that teachers will experience for the next 38 -40 weeks of school. Teachers know that setting the right tone every Monday during the school year can make a huge difference on the academic success of each school week.

That same kind of preparation is exactly what most teacher are doing during the month of August as they work to set up the classroom environments for the next year.

If Sunday night is meant for teacher planning, than August is the Sunday night of the entire school year.

Teachers plan the welcome they will place bulletin boards, they order supplies, they arrange classroom furniture, and they put their last touches on unit plans before they set a foot in their classroom on the first day of the school year.

All teachers know that on the first day of school, that first day of the week, their preparations will pay off. 

So, yes, to those who ask; the long summer vacation may be over. But going "back to school"? Teachers really never left.