A Teacher’s Summer To Do List

It’s here!! I cannot quite believe it, but we’ve successfully wrapped up another school year. One of my favorite things about our profession is the closure. Given our leanings (there’s more to do, let me try one more thing, I think if I just do this and that….), it’s such a blessing to have a definite stop date. And given our nature(s) and the all-consuming nature of our profession,  it’s imperative we take a month or two to recharge. This all starts up again in two months! To all of my friends in education, here’s my advice for a great summer. I think even my friends working a second job, going to school, or teaching summer school can do most of these: 

  • Give yourself time to mourn if you need it. I’m more emotional than some, and I needed this first weekend to cry. Goodbyes-to the “babies” and parents and staff-are tough! 
  • If you can, follow your internal clock for waking up and going to sleep. I’ll have to keep the same schedule as I do all year because of my husband’s work schedule, but that’s not without benefits. 
  • If you DO stay up late and wake up late (lucky ducks!), make sure you start your “school schedule” 2-3 weeks before we officially start. 
  • Reconnect. Make sure you spend lots of time with family and friends. For most of us, our families get the short end of the stick when we are working. Let’s use this time to hang out with those we love most. 
  • Travel. If you can, get away from it all. 
  • Read!  Read for fun and read for work. I like to read professional books now, when time is plentiful. Read children’s books. Read from as many genres as possible. 
  • Do nothing! It’s hard, isn’t it?  August-May, there is ALWAYS something we should be doing on weekends and in the evenings. Surely, we can just putter some in June and July. I know I will! 
  • Romance. If you’re married, your spouse probably prefers your summer self. I know my Jeff is always happy to greet Summer Julie.  Summer Julie has time and energy to have fun.  She is relaxed. She’s up for spontaneous outings and impromptu get togethers. In short, she is the best version of me. (I really would like School Julie to do better, but I’m not sure I’ll ever manage that.) 
  • Learn. It’s important that educators keep learning, too. Try to attend a workshop or two. (Or perhaps you’d prefer to read professionally.) And try to learn something unrelated to our profession. My hubby and I have considered a cooking class. 
  • Simplify. One of my favorite summer activities is cleaning out the clutter in my life. I love cleaning out every closet, drawer, and shelf in my house. Truthfully, I don’t love doing it.  I love the aftermath
  • God first. I hate to admit this, but my quiet time all but disappears in May. I’m looking forward to quiet, cool mornings on the porch. I love rocking and reading and praying. This is one of my favorite summer rituals. 
  • Get a head start! I like to sneak up to school a few weeks before we officially start to unpack and rearrange my classroom. In my district, we have the bulk of our staff development before the kids start. Having my room already finished helps me focus on the learning and on reconnecting with my staff. 
  • Ditch the phone. I don’t know about you, but I tend to spend too much time on my phone. My summer goal is to put the phone away and pay attention to my life. 
  • Do what makes you happy! For a brief time, the demands on our time are few, so enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! 

Happy Summer! As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 


“Happy Summer” Prayer

May is a crazy blur of activity. As I gradually take down the anchor charts, attend the inevitable retirement parties, graduations and various ceremonies, and say goodbye to so many little people, parents, and colleagues moving on, I’m  battling many thoughts and emotions. Too many…. Like all educators, I’m ridiculously weary. I’m so proud of what my kids have done. . . I marvel at the miracles in front of me! I’m teary as I think of our final day together. I don’t like goodbyes and change is hard. I’m anxious about the next year. What will it bring? And I’m so excited about two months of rest!  Early morning walks, vacations, relaxing, and visiting with family and friends–summer is so restorative.  

Not surprisingly, the idea of crafting a post before the final week of school didn’t excite me, but I can pray. I can always pray. 

“Father, I thank You for a job that provides closure. What a blessing!  Lord, you know better then anyone how exhausted and empty I am by Memorial Day.  THANK YOU for the aMaZiNg gift of time. Help me to use it wisely to rest and refresh. Help me to seek you in the months ahead. 

Thank You for a job that allows me to see the fruits of my labor. You know, Lord, how I often fret during the year.   As I record their levels and scores and colect various work samples, I see the progress they’ve made. And it still awes me. After 25 years of teaching, I am still in awe of the gift of growth. Thank You, Lord. 

Lord, be with my kiddos. Please bless and protect them. Please keep them healthy and safe. Please draw them-and their families-to you. Please fill in any gaps I may have left. Please place them with the right classmates and teachers next year. Please let them know how much I will always, always love them. 

Please be with all of my coworkers. Please bless them with rest and fun this summer. Please bless their health, relationships, and finances. Please bring us back together in August, refreshed and ready to do amazing things. Again.

Father, be with my principal, superintendent, cluster directors, and  schoolboard as they make decisions for the next year. Please give them wisdom and discernment. Please help them to seek your counsel. Please give them favor with us, their troops. And give us favor with them. 

Lord, bless my sweet custodians as they work all summer. They have such hard, often thankless, jobs. Please let them know they are valued and appreciated.”

Dear Reader, I wish you and yours a wonderful summer. I so appreciate you reading my blog. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! Happy Summer! 

Dear Parents, Thank You!

Dear Parents, 

As the school year is winding down, I feel so many things–elated at the thought of some much-needed rest, saddened at the thought that my journey with your child has ended, incredibly proud of the accomplishments we’ve made, excited about my summer plans.  And I feel tired, so very tired. Can I get an “Amen!” from my fellow teachers? 

Before we hug goodbye, I need to say a few things. 

1.  Thank you!  Thank you  for sharing your child with me this year. Thank you for trusting me. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for partnering with me. I am well aware of the precious, awesome gift that is your child. I tried to honor this incredible gift daily. I’m human and I failed some days, but I assure you I tried every day. 

2.  Even though our daily relationship is ending, my love and concern for your child are NOT. I’ve taught long enough to know what to expect every year. I’ll enjoy summer, but often find myself thinking of your child and wondering how he is. When school starts, I’ll search for his name on the third grade rosters. If you’ve moved, I’ll be sad, knowing I won’t see him in the halls. If he’s on a list, I’ll wonder if the third grade teacher knows how lucky she is. I’ll see your kiddo in the halls in August. Trust me, my babies and I will seek each other out as we grow comfortable with our new normal. I’ll miss him quite desperately as I learn about my new babies. As I see him smiling and laughing, I’ll reluctantly let go, but I’ll never stop caring. 

3.  I love it when you let me know how he’s doing. No matter how old he gets, he will always be one of my babies. Once mine, always mine.  So, please keep in touch. I’m one of your child’s biggest fans and I will always care about his struggles and triumphs. 

4.  If you want some tips on helping your child to be successful, please read this blog post.  

5. Have a wonderful summer! As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

A Mother’s Love

God bless all mothers! Today, I honor you all. You have one of the most important “jobs” on the planet, and yours is often a thankless one.  Today, I pray you receive the appreciation you so richly deserve. I also pray you are granted a glimpse of the importance of what you do every day. It matters. You matter. Happy Mother’s Day! 

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.”   ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.”  ~Mildred B. Vermont

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”  ~Rajneesh

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”  ~Honoré de Balzac

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  ~Washington Irving

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”  ~Agatha Christie

“All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  ~Abraham Lincoln

“Before becoming a mother I had a hundred theories on how to bring up children. Now I have seven children and only one theory: Love them, especially when they least deserve to be loved.”  ~Kate Samperi

“Education commences at the mother’s knee, and every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends towards the formation of character.”  ~Hosea Ballou

Mothers, I wish you much joy!