Teachers: What They Actually Do on Their Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation: Two of the sweetest words both a student and teacher can hear. Both need a break and while it may be for different reasons, the summer break helps all of us to refresh and recharge. Every school year has its ups and downs, its frustrating moments, and its rewards. We have to face new students, new colleagues, new administration, new school-wide initiatives (because last years weren't enough!) and new evaluations. A day in the life of a teacher, whether you are an elementary or high school teacher, is both exciting and stressful. No two days are the same and just when you think you've got it figured out and things are going smooth, BAM! The 3:30 bell couldn't come soon enough!
Most people think that teachers have the easiest job ever. We draw and color all day. We hang out and watch movies. We get days off for every holiday. Oh, and we get the entire summer off to do nothing, but sit around at the beach or at a pool, sipping on a refreshing beverage and basking in the sun rays, for a solid two months. Really? I wish! (Okay, maybe a few weeks of our holiday looks like that...)


1. Celebrate: It is essential that teachers celebrate the end of another successful school year. Whether it is lunch with friends, cocktails by the pool or BBQ's with our neighbors, we all need to take time to sit back, relax and enjoy life (necessary in every profession). Cheers!

2. Relax: Turn off the alarm and pull down the shades. Sleep past 6:00 a.m. It's okay! Now is the time to stay in bed a little longer, take afternoon naps, and just let your mind relax. Nobody understands the 24/7 working mind of a teacher, like a teacher. I can't count how many times I've woken up in the middle of the night with a new lesson idea for my students. I grab my phone, write down my idea, and (hopefully) fall right back asleep.

3. Organize: Think labels, seating charts, wall charts, planners, binders, bulletin boards, posters, etc. CLICK HERE for the link to some cute decorating ideas that I've been pinning!

4. Pinterest: Come the middle of summer, teachers find themselves browsing more frequently for new classroom organization ideas, new ways to incorporate technology into their lessons, new classroom management tips and tricks, and new lessons and activities for their classes (hello, Teachers Pay Teachers) Life saver! We could spend days browsing and pinning, while imagining all of the engaging things we can do with our students next year.

5. Lesson Planning: Teachers spend hours after hours perfecting their lessons from last year or coming up with new ones. What went wrong? How can I make it more successful? What new technology can I incorporate into my lessons?

6. Work: Many teachers do not get paid for 12 months of work, so they spend their summers working. So much for that relaxing!

7. Supplies: To a teacher, the Staples "Back to School Sale" is right up there with Winter and Spring Break. Freshly sharpened pencil crayons, colorful new notebooks and stickers galore! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! While my aisle frolic would not be as jovial, in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, it is pretty darn close for this time of year.

8. Socialize: It's hard being a working parent. I feel like I see my students more than my own child, which I unfortunately do, due to working full-time. That feeling isn't pleasant for anyone. Summer is the time to plan fun trips and spend time with family and friends that you normally wouldn't be able to during the school year. There is truly no better feeling than that!

9. Professional Development: Some teachers have the option to take professional development courses over the summer. Many do and most of them are not paid for by their respective schools. Just people wanting to make their classrooms a more engaging learning environment. This professional development is also a great way for teachers to network and share their ideas with others.

10. Read: Teachers use their time in the summer to not only read for their own pleasure, but also for their classroom. This is the time when we can actually take our time and pick out books that we feel our incoming students may be interested in (often suggested by students from the previous school year). Summer is when I tend create new novel studies for my classes. For example, I just finished reading Wonder, by R.J. Palacio! From that, (and taking a step back to #5) I started a Useful Resources Pinterest board, so that I can share ideas and teaching resources with other teachers.
 (Yes, this actually happens!)
I hope this post gave you a better idea, as to what teachers actually do on their summer break. The majority of teachers truly use their summer break to organize, plan and decide how they can incorporate new technology and trends into their classroom for the upcoming school year. 

It is, however, fair to say that some teachers have more downtime than others (sorry new teachers, you'll get there some day!) We do deserve some R&R after all that we experience in a school year. However, by the end of summer, most teachers are honestly ready to get back into a routine, enjoying the last few hours of the freshly-waxed floors and the pristine overall organization in their classroom. So long, classroom! See you in the fall! 

What are you most excited to use in your classroom next year?


  1. Thanks for the great post. While we have have spent lots of time this summer relaxing, reading, socializing etc., the first week after school let out, my husband was already planning for the first week back :).

  2. Thanks for the post! Your husband must really love his job :)

    1. Hi, what kind of jobs do teachers do for summer vacation?

  3. I liked your approach, if you start thinking about next year when it is close you won't get time to think out of the box. Good idea, loved it but one should also spend vacations to get relax