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July 17, 2017

Teacher To-Do List: Summer Edition

By John DePasquale
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    With the school year finished and end-of-year reflections hopefully complete, it is finally time for teachers to shift their thoughts, for the most part, to summer. Many of the teachers I know make the most of their vacations in a number of different ways. From spending time with family and friends that may feel neglected during the school year, to traveling to far-off locations, teachers are true experts at finding worthwhile ways to spend their time away from the classroom.

    Before I dive into my summertime plans, I first take time to set specific goals and create a to-do list (modified for summer) to keep my plans on track. Since it is supposed to be a vacation, I try not to overdo it with the number of goals I set. The last thing I want is a to-do list without anything crossed off as a constant reminder of my unaccomplished goals.

    Once I switch over to teacher-in-summer mode, I keep my to-do list very simple and specific to guarantee I’ll get things done. My list remains manageable because I limit myself to only four items at a time. Also, because I deliberately include goals on my summer list that are purely for my own enjoyment and well-being, it hardly feels like work.

    If your approach is similar to mine, or if you’re looking to simplify the goals you hope to accomplish over break, here’s a quick strategy to make the most of your summertime.

    Teacher To-Do List: Summer Edition

     

    Step One: Make Categories

    I first set four broad categories for my goals. These categories allow me to balance the different types of jobs I hope to accomplish. Also, setting categories with a personal focus ensures I’ll devote time and energy on myself — an essential part of any teacher’s summer plan. Click here or on the chart above to download your own To-Do List.

    The four categories for my goals are:

    ·       Self-care: What can I do to improve or refresh my physical or mental health?

    ·       Personal Growth: What personal enhancement goal can I make? What is something new I can learn or try for the first time?

    ·       School Prep: What classroom project or materials can I prepare now for next school year?

    ·       Professional Growth: What can I do over the summer that will help me to be a better teacher?

    Step Two: Keep It Simple and Specific

    I keep my goals as straightforward as possible to increase the likelihood that I’ll actually follow through with them. With simple and specific goals on the list, I know exactly what I need to do and how I need to do it. As a result, very little additional thought or work is needed before getting to work.

    Here’s what you’ll currently find on my to-do list:

    For my self-care goal, I plan to jump into a pool and swim laps more regularly. My personal growth involves reading more. Even though I claim to be a member of book club, I’m ashamed to admit the last time I showed up to a meeting. My goal for July is to finish reading the book of the month and actually attend the book club meeting.

    For professional development, I will attend a workshop and literacy conference to learn more about different reading intervention programs to support struggling middle school readers. Finally, to prepare for school in September, I plan to develop a better system to stay organized. I had a new role at school last year as a special education case manager. I worked with students, families, and teachers to coordinate all of the special education services. I look forward to continuing this role in September, but I know I need to develop a binder system to effectively and efficiently organize all of the required paperwork.

    Step Three: Stick to It (Adjust if Needed)

    To make the list visible, I write my goals on sticky notes then attach them to the to-do list that hangs prominently in my apartment. The use of sticky notes is critical in this step. I would not necessarily call myself a quitter, but I do not need added stress in the summer if something on the list is not working or getting done. If a goal clearly needs to be adjusted, or scrapped completely, I’ll just replace it with a new goal and move on. With sticky notes, you can make changes without leaving any evidence. As a result, your list remains a constant reminder of your success!

    I’m excited and motivated to start working on my list, and I look forward to sharing my progress. What’s on your to-do list this summer?

    With the school year finished and end-of-year reflections hopefully complete, it is finally time for teachers to shift their thoughts, for the most part, to summer. Many of the teachers I know make the most of their vacations in a number of different ways. From spending time with family and friends that may feel neglected during the school year, to traveling to far-off locations, teachers are true experts at finding worthwhile ways to spend their time away from the classroom.

    Before I dive into my summertime plans, I first take time to set specific goals and create a to-do list (modified for summer) to keep my plans on track. Since it is supposed to be a vacation, I try not to overdo it with the number of goals I set. The last thing I want is a to-do list without anything crossed off as a constant reminder of my unaccomplished goals.

    Once I switch over to teacher-in-summer mode, I keep my to-do list very simple and specific to guarantee I’ll get things done. My list remains manageable because I limit myself to only four items at a time. Also, because I deliberately include goals on my summer list that are purely for my own enjoyment and well-being, it hardly feels like work.

    If your approach is similar to mine, or if you’re looking to simplify the goals you hope to accomplish over break, here’s a quick strategy to make the most of your summertime.

    Teacher To-Do List: Summer Edition

     

    Step One: Make Categories

    I first set four broad categories for my goals. These categories allow me to balance the different types of jobs I hope to accomplish. Also, setting categories with a personal focus ensures I’ll devote time and energy on myself — an essential part of any teacher’s summer plan. Click here or on the chart above to download your own To-Do List.

    The four categories for my goals are:

    ·       Self-care: What can I do to improve or refresh my physical or mental health?

    ·       Personal Growth: What personal enhancement goal can I make? What is something new I can learn or try for the first time?

    ·       School Prep: What classroom project or materials can I prepare now for next school year?

    ·       Professional Growth: What can I do over the summer that will help me to be a better teacher?

    Step Two: Keep It Simple and Specific

    I keep my goals as straightforward as possible to increase the likelihood that I’ll actually follow through with them. With simple and specific goals on the list, I know exactly what I need to do and how I need to do it. As a result, very little additional thought or work is needed before getting to work.

    Here’s what you’ll currently find on my to-do list:

    For my self-care goal, I plan to jump into a pool and swim laps more regularly. My personal growth involves reading more. Even though I claim to be a member of book club, I’m ashamed to admit the last time I showed up to a meeting. My goal for July is to finish reading the book of the month and actually attend the book club meeting.

    For professional development, I will attend a workshop and literacy conference to learn more about different reading intervention programs to support struggling middle school readers. Finally, to prepare for school in September, I plan to develop a better system to stay organized. I had a new role at school last year as a special education case manager. I worked with students, families, and teachers to coordinate all of the special education services. I look forward to continuing this role in September, but I know I need to develop a binder system to effectively and efficiently organize all of the required paperwork.

    Step Three: Stick to It (Adjust if Needed)

    To make the list visible, I write my goals on sticky notes then attach them to the to-do list that hangs prominently in my apartment. The use of sticky notes is critical in this step. I would not necessarily call myself a quitter, but I do not need added stress in the summer if something on the list is not working or getting done. If a goal clearly needs to be adjusted, or scrapped completely, I’ll just replace it with a new goal and move on. With sticky notes, you can make changes without leaving any evidence. As a result, your list remains a constant reminder of your success!

    I’m excited and motivated to start working on my list, and I look forward to sharing my progress. What’s on your to-do list this summer?

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