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Many teachers take the summer off to refresh, reset, and prepare for the following school year. But some stick around and choose to teach summer school as well. Summer school can seem daunting, but with these summer school tips for teachers, you’ll be sharing your love of learning all summer long and enjoying it in the process!
It can definitely be challenging to stay positive about teaching all summer when the summer sun is calling your name. Try to remember that attitude is everything—it may be cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Staying positive will help you enjoy your summer school experience more, and it will likely encourage your students to remain positive as well. This will help them work harder, care more, and have fun in the process, which is a big win for everyone.
Set High Expectations from the Start
Studies have proven that kids typically meet the expectations set for them, whether high or low. Summer school teachers should set the bar high and establish their expectations from the get-go. Let your students know that you expect a good work ethic and attentiveness, and be sure to work in some fun summer activities or rewards to keep them motivated. Remember that it’s always easier to loosen the reins after starting too strict than it is to tighten things up after being too laid back.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
With an entire semester-long or year-long class condensed into just a few short weeks, it can be easy to look at what you need to accomplish before the fall and feel overwhelmed. But keeping things simple is the name of the game during summer school. Don’t feel like you have to give a test every Friday or have a paper due every Monday. Don’t attempt to assign ten different projects only to find that you barely have time for two. Don’t make summer school more stressful than it needs to be. Figure out what big ideas you want your students to understand by the end of the summer and focus on those. Instead of trying to get through an entire textbook or year-long curriculum, pick a few important units or chapters and emphasize the main ideas in those.
Every teacher knows that planning and preparation is 90% of the process. Especially with the shortened timeframe in which to teach, planning ahead is absolutely vital. You won’t have a few weeks to iron out details, schedules, and lesson plans. You need to jump right in on day one and hit the ground running with your lessons. Have your lesson plans mapped out for the entire summer before classes even start, and include projects, assignments, tests, and anything else in your lesson plans so you’re not flying by the seat of your pants at any moment during the summer. Since time is shortened considerably during summer school, planning ahead will also help you make the most of every minute you have with your students.
Get As Creative As You Can
Summer school doesn’t usually require teachers to adhere to strict curriculum guidelines, so take whatever freedom you have in the curriculum and try to make lessons creative. You can come up with fun ways to teach certain concepts, and you can think outside the box when it comes to engaging students and getting them involved in lessons and concept applications. If you can go outside or take a field trip during the summer, do so! Try to come up with memorable ways to illustrate concepts so that your students retain them better, and get creative with tests, projects, and daily assignments. You can utilize some Social Studies websites or Science websites, or you can check out some other free resources online for ideas.
Make the Most of the One-on-One Time with Students
Summer school classes sometimes contain students who flew under the radar during the normal school year, whether because of poor behavior, lack of attendance, or some other issue. Some students might be dealing with poor home lives or more responsibility than they should have at their young age. Or some students are trying to get ahead of the game by taking classes during the summer. Summer school is a time to really engage students who otherwise are overlooked or ignored or even those who want to delve deeper into a subject, and it’s a time to encourage them and foster their love of learning and their personal growth. Some students are attending summer school because they lack some of the necessary skill sets or need more practice with certain concepts in order to succeed during the school year, and summer school teachers have an amazing opportunity to work with these kids one on one to help catch them up and provide the support they need.
When you are preparing to teach summer school, be sure to follow these summer school tips for teachers to make the most out of your summer. You can have a great summer and help your students have a great summer as well. Be sure to stay positive, get creative, and embrace the fun of summer school!