With the school year coming to a close, you are likely looking forward to a good break from the classroom and are ready to unwind and refresh. However, summer provides unique opportunities for teachers. This is one of the few times when you will have the freedom to pursue your personal goals, such as taking the first steps on your path to earning a Master of Arts in Education, Educational Administration.
Have you considered the next step in your career? Are there roadblocks or obstacles you will have to overcome? The summer break can be the perfect time to come up with solutions, from researching online education degrees to learning new skills. Here are just five ways you can have a more productive summer.
1. Get Familiar with New Technology
As schools adapt to keep up with the latest technologies, many are implementing new systems and requirements. From piloting a new tablet-based curriculum to learning how to use the new digital whiteboard, it can take a good deal of time to become proficient with these devices and implement them into your lesson plans effectively. Use part of your break to test out the technology and brainstorm methods of using these resources to their full potential.
2. Participate in Enrichment Classes
While three months of rest may sound tempting, you may benefit from acting as a summer school teacher. Whether it involves teaching remedial classes, enrichment programs or sessions designed to prevent the “summer slide,” spending a few hours each week in the classroom can keep your skills fresh. You will be able to work on lesson plans outside of the normal scope and earn extra money at the same time.
3. Rejuvenate Your Lesson Plans
While it may be tempting to recycle ideas when you return to the classroom in the fall, try to use the summer to rejuvenate and reflect on areas where you can improve. Read new teaching books and magazines or have weekly coffee dates with other educators to share best practices and ideas.
This research and discussion can give you a fresh perspective. Summer gives teachers opportunities to revisit old curricula, rework lesson plans, revise units or syllabi or start from scratch. If you are no longer excited by the material, it is likely your students are bored too.
4. Continuing Education Credits
Many teachers find that their salaries, positions and certifications depend on continuing education credits. The seasonal break gives you a sizeable chunk of time you can dedicate to learning new skills, whether you decide to pursue a formal degree program or are just looking for non-credit professional development hours. Without the demands of daily classes, marking papers and lesson planning, you can immerse yourself in your studies and get a good deal of educational credits out of the way.
5. Research Online Education Degrees
Perhaps your career has plateaued, or perhaps you are ready to act on a promise you made to yourself to advance your education. Summer gives teachers opportunities for long-term career planning. If you have ever considered pursuing a master’s degree, the break is the perfect time to begin researching continuing education options.
Earning an advanced degree can help your job prospects and earning potential. In a recent study, teachers with master’s degrees had salaries $20,000 higher on average than teachers of approximately the same age who had only bachelor’s degrees.
While a bachelor’s degree used to guarantee a stable economic future, that is not always the case now. Competition in the job market makes advanced degrees an advantage when you are looking for a new position. A master’s degree can also open doors beyond the classroom; you could be qualified to become a school administrator, evaluation director or subject matter expert.
Most teachers find that online education accommodates busy schedules better than traditional degree programs, meaning you can complete lessons and assignments when it is convenient for you. You can often take on a course load that fits your availability, rather than registering for a required number of courses. This allows you to juggle your responsibilities at home and at work while pursuing your degree.
Summer presents many opportunities for teachers to advance their skills and rejuvenate their mindsets. Whether you decide to take a few professional development courses or consider an online education degree, using your break for personal improvement can be a great way to better your career and find professional fulfillment.
Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Educational Administration program.
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