An Inside Look at How Teachers REALLY Spend Their Summer Break

There is a common misconception that teachers have three months of carefree, paid, summer vacation. You may picture teachers spending summer break relaxing by the pool, playing with their kids, traveling the globe, or recharging in the wilderness. The reality though is that most teachers spend a great deal of time preparing for the next school year. Let's take a look into what a teacher’s summer really looks like.

Typically, students are released for summer around the end of May. At that time, teachers are required per their contracts to stay an extra week or so for meetings, test score reports, taking down and packing up their classrooms for the summer, and professional development. Even after that official year-end wrap-up , teachers spend time revamping curriculum for the next year. This includes aligning or realigning curriculum to meet state standards and pre-planning for differentiation and personalized learning supplements as best they can before the new school year begins. As teachers are continuously doing this, it presents a great opportunity for businesses to market supplemental materials or curriculum add-ons over the summer. Of course, teachers love it when you off a discounted price or a buy one, get one free offer.

In addition to preparing new curriculum or refreshing current curriculum, you will find that most teachers attend professional development trainings and conferences through the summer. Many attend these events to earn continuing education credits (CEUs) to keep their licenses current, for a graduate degree they are working on, or to fulfill district requirements. If you offer professional development workshops or services, do not underestimate the need for summer workshops or a conference. This provides a great opportunity for all parties involved; the teachers fulfill their professional development requirements, while enhancing their skillsets, and your company gains business.

After teachers have spent countless hours preparing for the next school year and attending various meetings, and conferences, they, like many others, might take a summer vacation, however, when they return, it’s time to really get serious about the new school year. In several states, teachers are required back in their schools at the end of July or the first of August. Upon return, they work on setting up their classrooms for the new school year. They receive a list of their new students and they study those students’ various needs so they can prepare to support their learning needs. Amongst all of the preparations that are taken for their new students, administrators and school districts will hold several different meetings about new or updated policies, new goals for the school year, new or updated requirements, and so forth.

Before you know it, it’s time for “Meet the Teacher” and /or for the first week of school. For the next 180 days, teachers will be focused on helping their students and teaching them the information they need to know to be successful and educated, in addition to fulfilling their job requirements so they can stay gainfully employed.

Businesses should never assume that because its summer, educators are not at school. Drive by a school on a summer day, or in the evening, and you will see cars in the parking lot at any given time. Whose cars are those? What are they doing? After all, it is summer time.

It is summer time, and during the summer, teachers prepare. Teachers are constantly preparing, planning, and pre-meditating anything that might help them and their students have a successful school year. Free resources that could provide teachers with supplemental materials, or help build their curriculum libraries are wonderful. Marketing through offering access to a free lesson plan, or even stopping by the school with boxes of company pencils, are small ways to connect with teachers and make a big impact.

Just for fun, here is a list of some my and my colleagues' favorite free resources:

  •  Online Story Time Programs
  • Virtual field trip programs
  • Reading posters 
  • Classroom subscription to ABC Mouse
  • Educator’s DVD collection from NASA
  • Reading/language arts lesson plans
  • National Geographic education
  • Smithsonian History Explorer
  • kids.gov

Summer is a great time to connect with educators. Even though you may find us at the pool now and again, our jobs and students are never far from our minds. 

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About the Author

Meredith Biesinger is an experienced classroom teacher and school administrator. She has written and implemented differentiated and blended curriculum into various K-12 and college classrooms for more than a decade. With a B.S. degree in English Education and a Master’s of Education in K-12 Policy and Leadership, Meredith’s primary focus has been faculty development and teacher training. Meredith currently resides in Mississippi with her family, where she is actively involved with her community’s schools. In her spare time she enjoys reading, DIY home projects and singing in the local choir.

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