5 Reasons the Teacher Summer Break is a Myth

What do teachers do in the summer?

What is a teacher summer? What do we do? We are always thinking about how to be better teachers. Honestly many of us are still thinking about your children.

What do teachers do in the summer?

Ever wonder what do teachers do in the summer?

The summer months are often seen as a time for relaxation and rejuvenation, a chance to unwind and soak up the sun. Or go down random rabbit holes!

However, for many teachers, summer is also a valuable opportunity to continue their professional development and enhance their teaching skills.

I teach summer school and as Department Chair, I spend a lot of time planning for the next year.

In this article, we will explore how educators make the most of their summers, from diving into the latest beach reads to creating innovative lesson plans.

Join us as we delve into the world of teachers during the summer break, and discover the incredible dedication and passion they bring to their job and profession year-round.

Whether you’re an educator looking for inspiration or simply curious about how teachers spend their hard-earned teacher summer, this article is sure to offer valuable insights into the hidden side of the teaching profession.

The Three-Month Teacher Summer Myth

This was taken during a vacation in Hawaii.

While some may think of teachers as having a three-month vacation, the reality is that we use this time to explore fun and new teaching strategies, attend workshops and conferences, and collaborate with colleagues. This is the big one we had to attend this summer.

Our summer break schedule is begins around June 12th and school begins around August 15th. Summer is about two months, it is no longer three months in California. In 2023, California requires 180 days of instruction for students.

After students leave, teachers begin a “highly encouraged” training for 3 days. Then, before school starts we attend a “highly encouraged” lesson planning training for a week. We also need to prep our classes before the school year. I routinely go through my classroom library and cycle through new books.

The Importance of a Teacher Summer

Break is a crucial time for teachers to recharge their batteries and reflect on their teaching practices. We evaluate what worked well in the previous school year and identify areas for improvement. We also explore new material that will enhance our lessons in the next year.

Burn out is such a huge problem in our profession. People either love teachers or hate teachers but everyone has a strong opinion about us. Honestly, I’ve worked with so many teachers at this point. There are a lot of bad teachers, teachers are people. That being said, there are so many wonderful teachers who really just go above and beyond for your children. Many work long hours at the detriment of their own children.

At the end of last year I needed a break. I was completely burnt out. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to keep teaching. I needed the teacher summer break to reset.

Teacher Summer To-Do List

I was sitting under a tree planning lessons for the next year.

For many, teacher summer is a chance to pursue personal interests and hobbies that may have taken a backseat during the school year. Whether it’s a nice vacation, spending time with family, catching up with friends, or roaming around in nature, teacher summer break is a great time to cultivate their personal growth, which ultimately benefits their students. I am working on Apricus Academy this summer.

My Teacher Summer: Balancing Relaxation and Professional Development

Striking a balance between rest and professional growth is essential for teachers to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming school year while also taking care of their own well-being.

Many teachers allocate the morning for relaxing or personal activities such as reading, exercising, or pursuing hobbies, and afternoons for class prep.

Lesson Planning – Heavy Reading

Enjoying the view of Diamond Head, HI. Nature clears the mind.

I choose to read books related to my field, exploring topics such as educational psychology, instructional strategies, or the latest research in their subject area. These summer reads help me set new goals to accomplish in the next year.

Personal Growth – Light Reading

In addition to professional books, teachers often enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction books that pertain to broader themes like personal growth, social issues, or historical events. I love reading in a cozy chair.

By incorporating concepts from their summer reading into their lesson plans, teachers can create engaging and thought-provoking learning experiences for their students.

Connecting Personal Growth and Teaching

They say you can't take a bad picture in HI but at the time I was so burnt out I took pictures.

One of the remarkable skills teachers possess is the ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts and ideas. For example, time spent at the beach might turn into a science fiction creative writing lesson during the year.

By infusing their personal interests and passions into their teaching, teachers can create a more engaging and impactful classroom environment.

They can use the characters and events from the novels to create vivid narratives that make the subject come alive for their students.

Opportunities for Teachers During the Summer

This is from a summer holiday in Japan. I did a lot of lesson planning in this spot.

These experiences allow educators to learn from experts in the field, exchange ideas with colleagues, and gain new insights into teaching practices.

These events often feature renowned speakers who share their expertise and inspire teachers to try new approaches in their classrooms. Attending such events also allows teachers to stay updated with the latest educational trends and research.

Distance Learning

Zoom is here to stay. Online courses and webinars offer teachers the flexibility to engage in professional development from the comfort of their homes.

These distance learning platforms provide access to a wide range of topics, allowing teachers to choose courses that align with their interests and professional goals.

Teacher Summer = Collaborating With Other Educators

One of my favorite views. I went here to study.

One of the most valuable aspects of our teacher summer break is professional development opportunities is the chance to collaborate with other educators. My co-chair and I usually spend a few days relaxing and planning over coffee. We go over SBAC test scores and use the data to prepare for the next year.

We exchange teaching strategies, lesson plans, and classroom management techniques, gaining insights from each other’s experiences.

Using Social Media to Connect With Other Teachers and Share Resources

I like this photo of Japan because it reminds me of California.

Social media has revolutionized the way teachers connect and collaborate with their kids and each other. During the summer break, teachers leverage platforms like Twitter, Facebook groups, and online forums to engage in discussions, share resources, and seek advice from their peers.

These communities provide a space for teachers to post questions, share success stories, and seek support. Educators from around the world come together to exchange ideas, recommend books and resources, and offer encouragement.

By harnessing the power of social media, teachers can tap into a global network of professionals who are passionate about education and committed to continuous improvement.

Overcoming Burnout

It was too hot and muggy to do work, so I just walked around the park instead.

Teaching can be emotionally and physically demanding, and teachers need time to recharge and replenish their energy. Teacher burnout is high. During the school year, 180 days are completely devoted to teaching. I go to sleep around 9pm and wake up around 5am. I still need a week to catch up on sleep.

I don’t try to forget the difficult year, but rather to reflect on why wanted to become a teacher. I think about why teaching is worthwhile. The teacher summer break is about recharging so we can give the new crop of kidlets the same dedication we gave to the last.

Do Teachers Work Over the Summer?

More than anything, roadtrips help me overcome burnout during summer.

Many teachers find jobs over the summer. Many school districts only pay teachers for the time they are in the classroom, 10 months. That means teachers have to find jobs to cover their bills over the summer months.

My school district pays us on a spread, meaning they pay our yearly rate over 12 months. However, many teachers continue to work over the summer. My teacher summer consists of teaching summer school but even teachers who do not work volunteer, coach, or take classes.


No lie, I sleep most of the first two weeks of my teacher summer..

Teacher summers are important because we engage in professional development, pursue personal interests, and reflect on our teaching practices.

We try to strike a balance between relaxation and growth, leveraging the summer break to enhance their skills and rejuvenate their spirits.

Through workshops, conferences, and social media platforms, teachers collaborate with their peers, share resources, and stay updated with the latest educational trends.

So, the next time you see a post from a teacher enjoying their teacher summer, remember that behind the scenes, many of us are also investing in professional development and preparing to make a difference in the lives of their students.

Once we recharge, my teacher summer begins. After time away I am ready for the new year.
Valerie de la Rosa


I am an educator with almost 15 years of experience teaching in Japan, Hawaii, and in Los Angeles. My goal is to change education and the way we view literacy instruction in America.

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