When the summer break bell rings, students leave their seats and start moving out of class by wishing the teacher - “happy vacations”. We can easily see the smiling and happy faces; they leave the class and suddenly the class becomes quiet. Having some time to himself/herself, the teacher then sits for some time in the class and recollects all thoughts, words and best wishes given by their students in the class.
There are teachers who take 3-4 days to arrange their classes for next year and also begin planning for the coming academic year. This includes planning for the coming academic year’s tasks, responsibilities, worksheets, teaching aids etc. Along with these regular tasks, a teacher has a wide range of possibilities for utilization of their break time constructively in summer.
Teachers need the summer vacation to reorganize their minds and prepare for the next school year. Throughout the academic year, teachers are subject to stress for a variety of reasons. In summer, stress relief is an important part of rebuilding productivity for teachers. It helps teachers reorganize their thoughts, so that they can focus on the growth of their personal & professional skills and other activities like tinkering with the digital tools, and upskilling themselves which they will be using in the following academic year. Teachers have time to have some fun and also be productive during the summer vacation.
As the teacher is out of her regular tasks of going to school, planning for sessions, managing the school tasks etc. a teacher can use this time for upskilling themselves. As we all are aware, education is changing as per the changing needs of the society. Thus, a teacher needs to be updated with the current knowledge, trends in education and different skills which a teacher is usually unable to do during the regular work schedule. This may include upgrading their skill, adding some new skill to their current skill sets, upgrading their content knowledge etc. Working on upskilling helps them in teaching recent trends to their students and also helps them in boosting their self-confidence as the teacher is up to date with the current trends, skill sets and knowledge. This also helps in boosting the morale of students as well because they know that their teacher will make them aware about the required information and knowledge.
There are different training courses or upskilling courses for teachers which are designed to serve the teachers quickly and effectively. Ways and course content might vary from course to course but the main purpose of these trainings is to create a better learning environment for students and prepare a teacher to be classroom ready as per new changes in demand. In addition, the syllabus of these courses changes regularly to allow teachers to adapt new teaching methods in better ways, both academic and non-academic. There are different types of teacher training programs/courses that are available for educators today. These courses include the Montessori teacher training program and the primary and secondary education program. These teacher courses focus on skill development. This is an important part of their formal training in the educational process. It guarantees that they are competent and ready. In training courses, attitudes and skills form an important part of each trainee's educational career. With teacher training, teachers acquire these key elements for a successful career. There are a wide range of teacher training courses, including local and global education programs. Therefore, depending on the choice of candidates, they can choose the right one to upskill in their profession.
Since most of us are very comfortable with the courses running online, a teacher can enroll in any course which could range from 2 hours to 30 or more hours. It totally depends upon the requirement of the teacher which is dependent upon the self- reflection or shared by some colleague or the leader of the organization.
A teacher does not need a tool or a formal form to understand and reflect upon the academic year. A teacher can ask a few questions to herself and do the self-reflection and use them at the end of the academic year. Some self reflection questions are listed below:
Reflect and respond to the following questions:
What was your topmost achievement for this year?
What was your happiest moment with your students this year?
What would you have done differently this year?
What was your biggest struggle/hassle or cause of stress this year?
What could you do to make the coming year easier?
What will be your goal for the coming year?
Thanks to digital technology, there are various options available as self-paced courses which allow one to learn, understand and acquire the skill at their own level of understanding and speed. At Aditya Birla Education Academy, there are various courses ranging from a few hours to a yearlong post-graduation diploma which facilitate the teachers’ upskilling. As per the requirement, a teacher can polish or sharpen or become more efficient towards using that skill and become more impactful in the class.
A teacher can use this time for doing and exploring some new skills as well; like practicing mindfulness, self-care, inclusion in school and society, socio-emotional development in students etc. In the regular working days of the academic year, a teacher might not get sufficient time or motivation for exploring such topics which are the need of the hour. By studying such sensitive and applicable topics a teacher will become more insightful while planning and conducting their session and also it helps in building up their personality. Indeed, we are talking about upskilling and pursuing a course or programme. The beautiful thing about working during break is that the things are done on your terms, sometimes even by the pool, which is kind of a vacation, right?
●Stephanie Jankowski (2021) Here's What Teachers Really Do During Their Summer Breaks From https://www.wgu.edu/heyteach/article/heres-what-teachers-really-do-during-their-summer-breaks1906.html
●Cassie (2021), 12 Simple Jobs Teachers Can Do to Prepare for a New School Year
●How to Use Summer Vacation Productively as a Teacher (June 2020), from https://study.com/blog/how-to-use-summer-vacation-productively-as-a-teacher.html
●How can teachers be updated with the current teaching trends to implement new methods in their teaching? https://abea.in/blog-how-can-teachers-be-updated-with-the-current-teaching-trends-to-implement-new-methods-in-their
●Effective teaching methods and how to use them- https://abea.in/blog-effective-teaching-methods-and-how-to-use-them