Whether you’re the type of teacher who packs their summer with private lessons, works a second job, or just lounges by the pool, there are a few things you should consider adding to your summer line-up that will help you be an even better teacher this fall.
Here are 5 easy steps you can try to get to the first day of school 100% confident that this will be your best year ever.
1. Focus on Wellness
I have a lot of friends that are teachers and some of them tend to do the complete opposite of this step. They spend the summer eating whatever they want, resting as much as possible, and drinking the widest variety of alcohol that they can. This may sound fun to most of us, but what it ends up doing is messing up your sleep routine, adding on excess weight, and getting us out of the habits that we have probably helped fine-tune for ourselves over the school year.
Summer is the perfect time to do just the opposite of max-laxing out your healthful habits- it’s time to instigate new ones! Whether you want to be eating healthier, exercising more, or being more exact to your sleep schedule, you can do it a lot easier with your flexible summer schedule. So pick ONE of your physical, emotional, or mental wellness weaknesses and hone in on it.
Do it all summer and watch how much easier it is to launch into the new school year next fall. Think of this as your chance to do Personal Development.
If you aren’t sure which area of your wellness you want to focus on, or aren’t sure how to do it, I recommend either of these books:
5 Factor Fitness– a diet and exercise plan anyone can do and stick to! I love this book and following the plan over six months post-baby helped me drop almost 25 pounds.
Urban Monk– this book really helps you decide which area of your wellness you are weak in and gives practical advice for how you can implement the right changes in your life. Also, lots of awesome resources videos, links, and other training to support your continued learning. This book shifted my entire thinking of sleep and vitality. Love. It.
And of course I love this book:
You Are a Badass- do you find yourself repeating the same negative patterns but aren’t sure how to change or shift yourself at the core, this is the book for you. Jen is a hilarious author and gives you practical steps you can take to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
2. Accomplish One Big Goal
Whether it’s planting a garden or reading the unabridged version of Les Miserables, set ONE big goal for yourself to accomplish this summer, make a plan for how you’re going to do it by scheduling in a part of your day every day to work toward it.
Whereas #1 is a life-long personal development change, this is a close-ended goal…something you can cross off your list when you’re finished. This is a great practice for when the new school year starts to loom and you’re like, wanting to make some goals, but, like, aren’t quite sure, like, exactly, like…how. Use this big goal to practice on.
3. Accomplish a Bunch of Small, Fun Goals
This is one of my favorite practices! I sit down on the last day of school and make a list of all the things I want to do this summer…and they can be simple or more complex, silly or fun, or whatever.
The idea here is to get you in the practice of change, or of doing something different- which will open you up to so many more opportunities this coming school year. It will really make so much of your job easier for you in the inside.
Need some ideas? Steal mine!
Enter your email to download 26 Fun Summer Goals for Music Teachers.
4. Create a Vision Statement for Yourself
This is another fun one and will only take you 10 minutes or so.
Start by thinking about your ideal ‘day in the life’ for yourself. What do you do when you wake up? What happens next? Who do you see? What do you do? And most importantly: how do each of these things make you FEEL?
Whittle it down into a single paragraph with each action you take associated with an emotion then read it every night before bed. Just try it and watch what happens in your life. For example, it might read something like,
‘I wake up excited every morning and start with my yoga a meditation routine before I jump into my day. I feel joy as I prepare for work, focused on my goals for the day. I feel energetic as I get to school, and feel great gratitude for my job, my classroom, and love for my students. I am completely fulfilled and we accomplish all of the tasks each day in my classroom, the students are focused and happy. When I get home from work, I cook a delicious, healthful meal and spend a quiet evening with my family reading, playing card games, and connecting with each other. I feel completely satisfied as I drift off to sleep every night.’
Do it for yourself and watch what happens.
5. Get Some Professional Development
So far we’ve talked about personal development- creating habits that will help you be a better, healthier person and thus a better, healthier teacher, but if you can toss in some professional development that is even better.
NAfME has a growing library of online PD options depending on what you would like to learn, but if I can make a recommendation…since most of us are frustrated with financial issues, and grants are one of the easiest ways to get funding, why not learn grant writing?
My hour-long grant training is in the NAfME Academy, or you can register and watch a replay by CLICKING HERE
Or, if you really want to learn the ins-and-outs of grant writing, you could take my online course…
Whichever route you go, get some good learning in and be 110% ready to be the best music teaching you can be next year!