You've had a fantastic summer. You traveled. You relaxed at home. You spent time with family. You read books that had been collecting dust on your bedside table. Now, the end of summer break is approaching, and you can feel the school year looming over your shoulder. Here are four things you shouldn't do as you enjoy your last days of freedom.
1. Don't Lose Sleep Over Last Year's Mistakes
The stress of returning back to school can be paralyzing. Playing over and over in your head what went wrong last year and what you wish you had done differently is a sure way to ruin what is left of your time off.
Instead, think about those so-called "mistakes" as opportunities to learn. Write down a few changes you'd like to make in the upcoming year, but then leave the past behind you. Learn from it and move forward.
Further reading: Learning from a Veteran Teacher
2. Don't Cram
You may not have prepared for the school year as much as you wanted during your summer break, but don't spend the last couple weeks of your vacation working day and night. You'll start the school year feeling exhausted.
Instead, budget a little time each day to do something small to help you get ready. This can include picking up some supplies you need, looking through your closet to plan a few work outfits (and maybe treating yourself to a few new things, too), organizing your desk for the work you might bring home, or reading some articles about teaching practices you want to try. These little things will help you feel prepared without burning you out.
3. Don't Plan a Big Trip Right Before School Starts
As tempting as it might be to spend three weeks dog sledding in Greenland right before school starts, it's probably not a good idea. If you're feeling jet-lagged and worn out, it will be a whole lot harder to get in a positive teaching mind-set. If you do travel during the end of summer break, be sure you're home a few days before your first day back to rest up.
4. Don't Count Down
If you just focus on how little time you have left in your vacation, you'll end up not enjoying the free time you still have. Instead, take advantage of your last days of freedom. I love to use this time to do things in my community that I never get to do. For example, I might eat at a restaurant I've never been to, explore a part of the city I've never seen, or catch up on a few movies I've been meaning to see. It grounds me back in my environment and prepares me for the focus I will need to start the year.
Further reading: What a Teaching Veteran Wishes She'd Known Earlier in Her Career
Summer vacation always comes to an end. But during those last few weeks of summer, be sure to treat yourself well and enjoy the final days of your vacation. There's a lot to do during the first weeks of school, so make sure you arrive feeling refreshed.