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5 Ways to Start Your Summer Goals Now

A woman works at her desk with the companionship of her dog.

Don’t wait until the last day of school to start these summertime goals.

This is the time of the school year that you’ve been looking forward to. Your schedule will soon change and you’ll have time to reflect, refresh, refocus, and rejuvenate. Even if you’re an administrator, or another educator with a year-round work schedule, you can be impacted by the change the summer months bring with a shift in focus related to building needs and special summer events. 

Further Reading: 6 Reasons to Enroll in an Online Master’s Program this Summer

The summer break also means that those of you who have your sights on trying to earn a degree, enhance a degree, or meet recertification requirements, can gain significant momentum towards achieving your goals. But even though the agendas change for the summer, the challenge to balance your goals won’t. How can you find time to let down and gear up for degree work, too? Here’s five ways to relax and recharge your professional goals at the same time: 

1. Change your mindset.

View this transition period as a time for change, as opposed to time-off. You’ll achieve more with this mindset.  

Dr. Wayne Dyer, a self-help author and motivational speaker, said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” 

Focusing on the summer months as a time for change and rejuvenation can lead to starting, earning, or completing your advanced degree in education. We all know our minds are powerful, and placing thoughts in a time-off mode, suggests “let’s stop,” whereas setting your mind on a time for change, establishes a “what’s next” attitude and will reinforce your educational advancement goals. Also, you will reinforce a value for work, education, and life balance in your students by being a role model for them. 

In a Kaiser Permanente report on Thriving Schools, teacher health and wellness is a critical component of a thriving classroom. Your well-being is essential for the learning and cognitive growth of your students, resulting in a thriving classroom and school culture. 

2. Explore the possibilities. 

If you don’t know how to advance your goals, network with others in the field who can share experiences and offer suggestions. Is there an administrator you’ve always looked up to? Or another teacher that seems to thrive in her job with energy and vision? It will be very beneficial for you to find out how they reached their own levels of success. Just remember that everyone is different, and your own educational journey will be unique and special only to you. 

3. Find your fit.

Your next step is to research your options for a professional development program or degree that can be tailored to your current lifestyle and professional needs while maintaining family, career obligations, and commitments throughout the summer months. Look for programs that are flexible and manageable, so that you’ll be eager and able to work on professional development or course material during the early mornings, late at night, or whenever is suited and conducive for your summer “rejuvenation” time. 

Many adaptive professional development programs are offered through higher education institutions, state agencies, departments of education, and national associations during the summer months.  Start by speaking to an enrollment counselor or an agency official about your options. 

4. Rejuvenate with the 3 “Rs”. 

Before you act on your summer professional development plans, don’t forget about your long-awaited need for rejuvenation. 

Education blogger Melissa Kruse said, “Educators need to take time for themselves over the summer, to focus on personal aspects of their lives that may have been pushed to the side or neglected during the course of the busy school year.”

Take time to read books that you enjoy, workout, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the freedom that summer affords. Rejuvenation time is important for your professional advancement, since it will give you the balance and energy you need to accomplish your goals. As you continue to work through your professional goals this summer, continue to take time for the 3 “Rs”: reflect, refocus and refresh 

5. Set your summertime professional goals now.  

The first step toward taking advantage of your time for change and rejuvenation is to act now. Motivational author Crystal Paine said, “How willing you are to make changes is directly dependent upon how motivated you are to get where you want to go.” 

Further Reading: 3 Tips for Finding Summer Jobs for Teachers

It is very tempting and natural to focus on your upcoming break as a time-off while keeping professional development goals in mind. However, if you do not act upon your goals and make plans before summer arrives, this prime time for career advancement can slip away very quickly. Before you know it, you are making plans for another new K-12 school year without having met your own professional advancement and career development goals.