With most of my favorite sports teams beginning or well into their offseason training regimens, I got to thinking of the things we can do over the summer to makes us better come September. After all, if the way they spend their "down time" can be the difference between an all-star bid or a championship season, couldn't the things we do over our summer make us better teachers when "game-time" rolls back around?
Here's what I came up with (and apologies in advance for the cheesy, and often forced, sports analogies):
1. Review Your Playbook
Read over the instructional routines and best practices in your teacher's guide. No matter how many times you've looked through them, I can guarantee you'll find something useful. (Pay close attention to some of the articles noted in the citations... going to the original documents can really give you a much more solid grasp of what you're doing and why.)
2. Deepen Your Knowledge of the Game
Whether your game is football or literacy, widening the lens you look at your craft through is a sure path to improvement There are, of course, thousands of excellent research articles and textbooks to check out, but Psychology for Learning and Instruction by Marcy P. Driscoll and In Search of Memory: the Emergence of the Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel are two great places to start. Discoll's book offers a overview of educational theories and their educational implications, while Kandel's is a compelling mix of autobiography, history of brain science, and treatise on the biological workings of the mind (disclaimer: I am only halfway through "In Search of Memory" but I am so fascinated by it that you shouldn't be surprised if you see a full blog about it soon:).
4. Don't Forget Your Physical (or should I say Mental) Therapy!
Take the time to do the things that lower your stress, improve your health, and make you feel good! Go for those hikes. Take those swims. Sit by that beach. Like a loose and limber pitcher or receiver, a happy teacher is a better teacher:)