This post is written by NCTE member, Barklie Eliot.
By the beginning of June, I am ready for summer. When the last exam is corrected and the last grade entered, I exhale loudly and put on Aretha–loud. However, despite my relief, what is coming is the most difficult time of the year—the transition to summer.
During the school year, my schedule is busy. I get up at 6:30 every morning, leave the house by 7:30, and work about 55 hours a week. I also fit in at least five hours of scheduled exercise a week, and cook most of my meals at home. Suddenly in June, everything changes. I have 2 hours of work a week (e-mail!), seven hours of exercise, and cook a bit more—but not 53 hours more.
To manage the dislocations caused by this shift—boredom, anxiety, overspending, overeating—I’ve developed a few techniques to help me manage it better.
1) Schedule continuing education or professional activities right after school ends. Grading AP exams, signing up with the National Council for the Humanities Institutes or Seminars, or taking a workshop at a local community college or school will engage you but also stimulate you.
2) Travel. Whether you travel within your state, nationally, or internationally, you will have to take some time to plan before you go, and those last minute arrangements—clothes, equipment, apps, books, hotel reservations, etc.—can effectively occupy the time or so between the end of school and travel. I like to have a week to 10 days before I go on a long trip, so that I can both decompress and rev up simultaneously.
3) Schedule in a multi-day cultural or sports activity right after the close of school. This year, from June 9-13, I attended a four-day film festival in my city; while another colleague prepared for a half marathon in late June.
Not only do all of these help me adjust more rapidly and easily to my summer schedule, but they also stimulate my imagination and expand my horizons. After two weeks, I’ve usually shifted to summer schedule: 8:00 wake-up, walking or biking every day, and my new Moroccan cookbook.
Barklie Eliot teaches ninth grade and AP English Literature at an independent school in Florida. She has taught for 36 years.