Don’t let your teacher development this summer be the same ol’ thing. Instead try some of these unexpected ideas that will leave you feeling refreshed and focused.
The summer is a time of rest and relaxation for many teachers, but still, there are always those few that find time to do some teacher development over the summer.
Today, we’re talking about some unexpected teacher development for the summer. It’s about growing as a teacher through experiences, reading, and fun.
Each of these unexpected paths to teacher development will put you back in the position of your students. You’ll be reading, learning new things, and put in situations where you must problem-solve, work with others, and support a team goal.
Although these experiences are a little bit like professional development, they can also be a lot of fun, especially if you try them with others.
We strongly recommend that you go through this list with a group of other teachers. When you go to the escape room, go as a team. When you read the book or watch the documentary, set up a time to do a book club or go to a happy hour to discuss your takeaways. Try out a new class that someone else is excited about, and then discuss your experiences.
Being a part of this teacher team, who is doing these activities specifically as a way to learn and develop as teachers, will bring you closer together, give you a common goal, and bring a different perspective to this experience.
#1 | Visit Escape Rooms
We often do escape rooms in the classroom, but when was the last time you did an escape room in the wild (like with other adults)? Escape rooms are a great way to work through the content, challenge students, and develop problem-solving skills, but you must experience them to get the most out of them.
This summer, we are challenging you to visit at least two different escape rooms and spend a little time journaling about your experience. Maybe even write down a story you can tell your students about how you did.
What parts were the most fun, frustrating, exciting, or nerve-racking?
When you do escape rooms in the classroom, can you find ways to implement them to help your students have some of the same feelings?
We have a variety of escape rooms to help review many of the different middle school ELA standards. After experiencing an escape room in real life, consider how you can use these escape rooms in different ways!
#2 | Read a Book from this Author: Brené Brown
Brené Brown is an author who focuses on courage and vulnerability.
Now, a Brené Brown read will not be your typical teacher PD. Instead, you will read about management and the courage to show up, even though you can’t control the outcome.
She speaks about how people have different values and the power of being vulnerable.
Often, when we think of teacher books, we focus on stuff related to education or teaching, but sometimes we can find great messages, tactics, and suggestions in books about business, management, and empathy.
How can books like Brené Brown’s teach us something new or get us to think about our students and our teaching in a new, refreshing way?
Book Suggestions: Daring Greatly
Now, although we chose Brené Brown as our suggestion, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pick a different book to focus on. We like Daring Greatly because it is not an education book; it is a book that can connect to any situation, so for this teacher development, choose a non-education book.
#3 | Take a Class to Learn Something NEW
So, there is a specific word here that we want to draw your attention to. NEW.
As teachers, we tend to fall into some of the same ol’ same ol’ habits and tendencies. We forget what it feels like to try something new or to feel like the ‘dumb’ kid in class. Or to listen to someone explain something that you know nothing about for the first time.
So, as you embark on some unexpected teacher development this summer, we challenge you to take a class where you know nothing about the topic. Maybe it is karate or coding or pottery or flower arranging. The class doesn’t have to take long. It can just be a two-hour experience at your local Michaels, but the important thing is to try something totally new. Then consider the experience.
Based on what you felt in that scenario, what kinds of takeaways can you apply to your teaching situation? How can you connect with your students, explain things in a different way, or scaffold the information to make it feel more comfortable?
What did you do when you were confused during your class? How did you deal with uncertainty? How can you use your own experience as you think about your students?
Summer is certainly a time for rest and relaxation, but it can also be a great time for experiences and learning.
Try out some new teacher development this summer by picking a few things from this list and then let us know what you think!