After spending a year trying to educate their students, most teachers have a vested interest in their students’ future success. One way dedicated teachers can make their impacts longer-lasting is to realize their job doesn’t end as the school year comes to a close. By harnessing their ability to persuade students and encouraging these pupils to engage in some learning and self-improvement over the summer months, teachers can potentially produce pupils who enter the next year of school more capable and ready to learn.
When the school bell rings on that last day before the long-awaited summer break, students everywhere flee the hallowed halls of education with delight. As this summer approaches, teachers can do more than just bid their students a fond farewell. To better serve their pupils, teachers should prepare them to have a productive summer break. By spending some time doing so, teachers can potentially reduce the amount of learning loss students experience over the summer, as these prepared pupils will be more likely to think about academics even during the would-be leisurely break from formal schooling.
- Engage in Goal Setting – It’s important for students to think of their years of schooling as interconnected, not separate entities. As teachers know, the information a student learns one year will prove indispensable the next. To help students create this connection, teachers can have students conclude the school year by setting goals. If a teacher has his students sit down in the final days before summer break and write goals for the next academic year, he can effectively send the message that summer signifies not the end of school, but rather a rest-filled break between rigorous academic terms.
- Get Students Thinking About Higher Education – The break from school that summer vacation creates provides students with an opportunity to consider higher education plans. Teachers can facilitate this summer education contemplation. Teachers, particularly those who teach secondary students, should encourage these learners to spend some time over summer break researching colleges and touring campuses. If teachers can convince their pupils to explore bachelor’s and associate's degree options while on break, they may inspire these students to keep working toward building their brains even though they are not in school.
- Provide Concrete Suggestions – When teachers speak in generalities, students often fail to comprehend the message. Instead of saying, “You should read over summer break,” or “Try to practice your math while on vacation,” teachers should provide explicit instructions for summertime study to their pupils. By telling their students to read specific books or giving them some clear practical math activities to complete over summer break, educators can increase the likelihood that students actually follow their recommendations.
- Conference Individually – Instead of presenting a message about summer study to all students, teachers should conference with students individually to discuss summer education plans. Often, when teachers speak to the whole group at once, some students tune out, assuming the message doesn’t apply to them. When spoken to individually, however, students are more likely to pay attention and retain the message that the teacher transmits. Engaging in these one-on-one meetings is also an effective way to show students how important they are as individuals, something a teacher can never stress enough.
- Plan Check-ins – For students who will return to the same school next year, summer check-ins can be tremendously helpful. As the year draws to a close, teachers who have a vested interest in their students’ success can arrange home visits or at-school meetings to occur during the summer months. At these visits, the former teacher can ask the student and her parents questions about what the family has done over the summer, what books the student has read and if the student has engaged in independent study. To make the most of these summer-month meetings, teachers can even invite the students’ teacher for the next academic term, allowing the educator who will be taking over that child’s education to meet the pupil and her family.
About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education on behalf of Colorado Technical University. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.