Don’t Cool Down for Summer

This may come as a surprise, but I always thought the summer break from school was too long. The gap between formal learning became a significant cycle of “slow down and rev up” from late spring through summer. To mitigate the down time I embraced the time as a period of ongoing learning; a disposition I reinforced for my students as a positive one. 

The good news is that I am not unique in the use of break between school years.  So, sprinkled among live music and sports, trips to beaches and mountains, are a variety of opportunities to develop their craft and, in turn, for organizations to showcase their services and products.  Here are my plans for summer 2019! 

Document My Thinking, Learning, and Vision of Education 

Framing your tool as a way to document teachers and their students practice, learning, and thinking is a great way to showcase a product. For example, during the summer I devote time to updating my digital portfolio and its elements.  These items include my CV, teaching artifacts, and media showcases of my work. Additionally, even if I am not looking for a new position, project and consulting opportunities arise, evaluations happen, and opportunities to promote the successes in my school or classroom occur. I want to be ready to act on those with confidence and minimizes frantic scrambling.  A simple web search will be my first step.  Crafting your product as a way to achieve the goals I listed above should be clear with examples.    

Explore Educational Technology 

I subscribe to multiple listservs, newsletters, and twitter feeds dedicated to the effective implementation of technology to support teaching and learning.  The summer provides time for me to stay informed and test run these tools.  But, this is a crowded space that gets new players on a consistent basis. There are, however, ways to separate your tech tool from the pack.  For example, offering a trial offer of the “premium” options can get educators to fall in love with your tool and get hooked.  That happened for me with Screencasti-o-matic and Biteable.  Another option is to contact parent organizations at schools.  These groups can fund purchases for departments and teachers.  

Attend a Conference 

Educators work their schedules around conferences and the summer provides multiple opportunities for you to get involved.  Of course, there are large options which companies sponsor like ISTE (June 23 – 26 in Philadelphia) or ASCD (June 25 – 27 in Orlando) but there are many other professional conferences you may have not considered. Specifically, the EdCamp movement has national options.  Likewisethe National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) funds institutes and seminars for K-12 and university educators. They meet, typically, for multiple weeks at libraries, museums, universities and cultural centers. Sponsoring a happy hour, morning coffee, focus group, presentation, etc. will require that you reach out to the EdCamp or NEH organizers.  Securing this step can provide an attentive and grateful collection of educators.  

The summer is a busy time for educators.   Despite the perception by many that teachers are “off in the summer”, the opposite is quite true.  We continue to develop our craft and learn new aspects of an extremely dynamic field.  In short, we are “on.”  Are you? 


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About the Author

Craig Perrier is the High School Social Studies Curriculum and Instruction Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, VA. He is also an online adjunct professor of history and education for Northeastern University and Adjunct Professor of Education, at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. He has taught in public schools throughout the U.S. as well as in Brazil for six years. Craig maintains the blog The Global, History Educator and is the creator of the free online teacher resource U.S. History in a Global Context. You can follow him on twitter @CraigPerrier.

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