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6 Teacher Activities to Leave in the Classroom This Summer

A woman, with sticky notes displaying hand-drawn eyes on her glasses, sleeps at her desk.

Summer means you can fall asleep at your computer and stay there all night long if you want to.

Teachers live and die by their routines during the school year. Without them, we'd never make it. All that scheduling helps us survive, but that doesn't mean we always love the things that fill the pages of our planners.

Further Reading: 10 Tips and Truths of Living with a Teacher

For at least a few glorious weeks, summer vacation frees us from the confines of our schedule. And some of the best teacher activities are the things we don't have to do during summer break.

Here are six things educators won't be doing this summer.

1. Motivating Students to Succeed

You write the lesson plan, upload documents to the class drive, then teach. Job done? Nah. Your next job is to make sure every student progresses as planned.

According to Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching, students are motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors to varying degrees, and teachers meet their students' learning styles by recognizing what motivates each student. Teachers don't just know about different kinds of motivation; they live them every day. Nine months out of the year, Tony Robbins's motivational techniques have nothing on how you get your kids to do their work.

But all that cheerleading takes a toll.

So at least for the next month or so, you're relieved of your therapist/life coach/counselor/motivational speaker duties.

2. Drinking Bad Coffee

Teacher break rooms are where good coffee goes to die.

You're either used to drinking bitter coffee from a carafe or sifting through the K-cup bin looking for something that isn't decaffeinated or holiday-flavored.

But for now, it's summer. Drinking bad coffee is a choice. Perhaps you'll make it at home or drain the myriad Starbucks gift cards you've collected as tokens of teacher appreciation.

Barista: Ma'am, all these gift cards have $1.63 on them.

You: Sorry, I'm a teacher.

Starbucks coffee might be expensive, but at least it doesn't taste like eggnog.

3. Scheduling Every Second

Toss the sticky notes. Ditch the iPhone reminders. Burn your planner.

OK, maybe don't burn your planner.

But you get the point. Summertime is you time. Giving yourself a few weeks to decompress is vital for self-care and longevity as an educator. You'll be a better, healthier teacher for doing so.

It might take a bit of getting used to, though. You're not the only one waking up with anxiety because your alarm didn't go off at 5:30 am.

4. Getting Sick

If there's one part of your body that's especially excited for summer, it's your immune system.

Teacher vacation is your hiatus from Emergen-C packets, your sabbatical from antioxidant drinks, your recess from using an excessive amount of hand sanitizer.

It's also your annual opportunity to remember what it's like to live life without fear of getting the flu or whatever form of bubonic plague is going around your school. Embrace it.

5. Wearing Professional Clothes

Your shoulders haven't seen the sun since last August, and you're developing a lanyard tan on your neck. Yup, you're a teacher!

Now that school's out, you can retire the professional garb for a bit. Make comfort a priority. Bust out the yoga pants, the extra-large t-shirts, and the workout attire.

Or just stay in your pajamas until noon. Whatever you're into.

6. Pretending They Like Their Colleagues

No one ever said that you have to love everyone you work with. You're not the first to hide in your classroom for 10 minutes after school because you heard that teacher's voice or distinctive footsteps in the hallway.

Further Reading: Help! I Really Want to Like My Students. But I Don't.

Ten weeks is just enough time to forget what exactly rubs you the wrong way about them. Don't worry—come August, they'll remind you.

That's around the time you'll say hello to your favorite teacher activities. At least until next year.