5 Non-Work Ways to Work on Your Teaching Craft This Summer

Our guest this week is Ashley Bible from Building Book Love. Ashley shares innovative opportunities for professional and personal development that won't actually feel like work at all!

I realize this title sounds like a paradox, but I promise that these ideas don't feel like work at all! Summer can be a great time to recharge and reinvigorate your teaching passion.

Here are some non-work ways to work on your English teaching craft this summer:

1. Take a road trip. 

My favorite road trip stop last summer was to the Poe Museum in Richmond, VA. They don’t allow pictures inside, but this place is incredible! I learned so much and definitely had lots of “I can’t believe this belonged to Poe” moments. They even have two black cats that live there! This museum is highly worth a visit if you are traveling through Richmond this summer!

For other English teacher road trip ideas, check these out:

2. Listen to a new podcast. 

While you are on that road trip, try out a new podcast! I recently started listening to The YA Cafe, and it has given me so many new YA book recommendations! I really like that it's divided into two segments so that you can listen to the first part without spoilers then decide to either cut it off or keep listening to the rest of the book conversation.

I'm a huge podcast fan, so you can check out my other recommendations here:

3. Read YA Books. 

I personally can't really bring myself to read hardcore professional development books during the summer, but I love using this time to catch up on my YA list! I'm kind of odd in that I prefer literary nonfiction for personal choice books, but I know that it's extremely important to read what my students are reading as well. My favorite summer activity is to sit by the pool and people watch while a YA audiobook plays in my ear. THE BEST. If you are more of a printed book person, I made some fun bookmarks for you and your summer reading list.

Download your free bookmarks here:

4. Do some bargain shopping. 

Another favorite summer activity of mine is to hit up yard sales and thrift stores. Summer is the best time to do this because it's the natural time that people want to declutter and get some work done around the house. There are lots of classroom items you can find at yard sales when you look! Here are the most common yard sale and thrift store finds for your classroom:

*Flexible seating
*Play props (think discarded Halloween costumes)

Almost every single item of my classroom decor was purchased from yard sales and thrift stores! You can see more of my classroom here: High School Classroom Decor: Semi-Flexible Seating in a High School ELA Classroom 

5. Attend a workshop or class to learn a new skill. 

What a better way to model lifelong learning than to take a class to learn a new skill this summer! Think of something you've always wanted to learn how to do and use your extra time to make it happen! For example, a local skillshare building is hosting a hand-lettering class that I'm taking this summer. If you don't have offerings in your area, you can find classes for anything on the internet if you search long enough!

I hope that you have a restful, refreshing, and reinvigorating summer!

Ashley Bible is a high school English teacher in Tennessee who loves to travel and blog about creative teaching strategies over at BuildingBookLove.com 

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