Homework for Health Teachers: 3 Ways to Make the Most of Summer


People often assume that teachers go into this profession for the summer vacations—and maybe that’s not completely incorrect, as summer can be pretty awesome. What they don’t understand, though, is that our work doesn’t stop as soon as the final bell rings. We’re always working: getting caught up, thinking of new ways to hone our craft, attending professional development, etc.

As health teachers, we have the unique privilege of using the summer to explore new ideas for our students, while taking extra care of ourselves.

Here are three ways you can use the break to improve your teaching practice and your personal health.

1. Try a new physical activity.

We all know the importance of physical activity, and most of us model a healthy lifestyle. But sometimes, we can get stuck in a rut and get tied to a less-than-healthy routine. Summer is the perfect time to try different ways to get moving so that you can share them with students come fall, and challenge yourself to improve your fitness along the way.

Yoga, TRX, swimming, spin class, barre, boot camp. With open mornings, you have time to try some of these fun classes. Plus, during the summer, many studios offer initial lessons for free.

2. Get connected to the latest health news.

One of the things that is so great about teaching health is the vast amount of new research that comes out each day. By staying on top of the latest health news and trends, not only are we keeping our lessons up-to-date, but we’re learning strategies for ourselves and loved ones, too.

Without the added stress of lesson planning and grading, we can really dig in. For example, if you haven’t already done so, set up a Twitter account, and get into a habit of checking the news regularly. Here are 6 online resources that can help you as you plan throughout the year.

3. Try a digital detox.

We teach our students about the importance of tech balance, but how often do we actually do it ourselves? Summer, without early school start times, is the perfect time to unplug.

Leave your phone in your bag, keep your iPad in another room, and see if you can go 24 hours without connecting to the Internet. You might not be able to do it, and that’s fine. The point is to become more aware of your technology habits so you can guide your students to use it more mindfully.

Summer should be a time of rest, rejuvenation, and good times spent with family and friends. All of these are skills we teach our students, and having several weeks off gives us a chance to work on them ourselves.