Teachers always laugh about the citizenry who actually think that teachers have 3 months off - as if any teacher could just turn away from working toward next year, to make ourselves and our students better! (That's why we are teachers!)
Although you have lots of fun plans already, when you become a little bored and need a few things to do, here are 10 things I suggest for a rainy day, that will make your life, next year, and your finances better:
1. Save all of your thank you cards and notes and pictures from the school year in a folder marked "2015." I did not do this, and I have large plastic bins with assorted notes and cards randomly thrown in. I have no idea what year the notes were from (and I taught 37 years.) On any notes you received, check to see if the student wrote his/her last name (they usually don't.) Pencil it in to help you to remember when you revisit your treasure chest of cards and notes on a down day when you need them to lift you up..
2. I always liked the idea of sending something home to recognize when a student did something extraordinary or put forth major effort. For years, my school used a yellow postcard with the words "YOU'RE SPECIAL DELIVERY", a play on the words of "special delivery." Teachers could write an small note on the card and address it, and the secretaries put the cards in the mail. Today, that gesture of recognition could and should be electronic! Email is fast and immediate, as well as having no postage required. An hour or so on a rainy day might be enough time to find a fun certificate online, or you can create your own. This small investment of time will earn you bonus points with both parents and students when you send your special recognition form home in email. (As teachers, I believe we must celebrate the positive more than we emphasize the negative. That philosophy really worked for me.)
3. Think over the lessons you did that were exciting and really good. Analyze them just a bit- what made them so good? Think of how you can use some of the really good techniques and ideas on some of your not-as-stellar lessons. Maybe you can write a little list and send it to your school email address so you don't forget your creative musings.
4. Do you have a class web page? If not, take a few hours to make one for your class next year, and once you have the template, you can use it for many years to come. During the school year, it will take only about 10 minutes to update your web page every week, and a class page keeps both parents and students on track.
5. Is there a special bulletin board you have always wanted to construct, but did not have the time to make? Buy the materials and enlist the help of the neighborhood kids to help you cut out what you need. Put it all in a Ziploc bag with a label. Ta-da! Ready to use.
6. With technology and blended learning becoming the norm, spend some time perusing additional websites that you could use for specific topics in your class. Put them all in a document to email to yourself. Perhaps the websites will get your creative juices flowing and you will create a new and better project than the one you are currently using.
7. I always liked to have a "fun" emergency lesson plan available. Do you have one? A pair share or small group lesson seems to work best on a day which requires such a plan. Write a plan that keeps students on task, yet they are enjoying the challenge. One such lesson plan I made was to make words from Greek and Latin roots! The words had to be real words, not "made up" ones, and the groups had to be able to know and explain how the word supported the definition of the root. For example, the root "ped", meaning "foot." They could write words like pedestrian and explain "a person who walks on foot", or expedition, which means to go on an adventure on foot. The kids learned, yet also had fun learning. I kept my emergency lesson plans in my top left desk drawer, and sometimes I had to ask the substitute to use one of them. ELP's are great to have on hand, as you never know when you will need one!
8. If you teach on a team, perhaps you could meet with your team for lunch and discuss the year. What were your team strengths and what specific issues can you work on together? Discussing these kinds of questions in a non-school setting gets everyone thinking about how to improve for the next year.
9. You need to think about your financial future now, and you are too busy during the school year to do that. Make an appointment with a financial planner. Even if you think you can't afford to save any money, save $25-$50 per pay. You won't miss it, and you just can't wait until your last few years to save money. Find out if your school district works with any specific companies for tax-sheltered annuities, Roth IRA's , or 401K's. Please believe me- this is something you need to look into NOW.
10. I think it is a great idea to write a little journal- online or handwritten- about your year in review. What were your joys? What were your lows? Who were the characters, and what were your finest moments in the classroom? I promise you that the 30-60 minutes you spend on this will bring great enjoyment to your life in later years.
Enjoy your time off- you deserve it! I hope this list of 10 things to do on a rainy day will also bring you enjoyment!
Author: Student Teaching: The Inside Scoop from a Master Teacher
Blog: Lessons Learned from the Bunny Teacher www.bunnyteacher.blogspot.com
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