By: Ebonie Campbell

Come and take a journey with me on a summer trip to reset and recharge for the fall. As teachers, once we have made it to the end of the school year, we may feel mentally exhausted and in need of much-needed rest. If you are like me, you cannot quite seem to turn your brain off. You are already thinking about the upcoming school year and all it entails. However, setting aside time to focus on refreshing and renewing your mind should be your first and only priority.

This summer, I would like to take you on a journey, an adventurous road trip to recharge your mind, body, and spirit. Before we leave, there are some key essentials to consider in preparation for our trip including general trip plans, determining the destination, designated routes, and most importantly, what activities will make our adventure even more exciting.

Before we begin our trip, we must first make basic plans even before the school year ends. Prior to spring break, begin researching professional development workshops, certification classes, or conferences you are interested in attending over the summer. After completing research, make your final decision and complete all necessary applications, registrations, and reimbursement forms before the last month of school.

We are almost ready to go, but we have a few more details to sort out before school lets out. During the last week of school, take time to note the changes or adjustments you would like to implement during the next school year. For example, consider what worked and what did not work with your existing lesson plans, and identify areas for improvement. Each quarter I make notes on my lesson plans so I can make revisions the next time I teach the lesson. Additionally, I jot down notes of ideas for bulletin board changes, classroom desks changes, and observe the procedure on how students submit late work. This approach will ease your worry as you can cross it off your task to do list. You can also revisit these ideas during the pre-service week where changes can be implemented.

Now it’s time to determine our destination and mode of transportation. Once school has ended, it is imperative that you find time to engage in activities that make you happy, ease your mind and most importantly give you peace. There is no better place to find relaxation and peace than places with beaches, sunshine, or nature.  We can take our pick and then choose our mode of transportation, it could be taking the scenic routes with an RV or flying nonstop.  Whatever mode of transportation we choose, find time to reconnect with family and friends on your journey. Research areas on our trip where we can take an amazing bike ride, and even take a walk on the beach.  We can also sneak away to read our favorite murder mystery or romance novel. These activities help to shake off the stress, the feelings of overwhelm, and the end of the school year exhaustion. As teachers, although we are passionate about our work and care about our students, without self-care, we burn out and cannot be the light our students need us to be. Furthermore, we are not able to be fully present if we are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

As we are enjoying our time away, we also have to recognize and reflect upon the relationships that help to sustain and support our teachership, and these relationships are those with our “teacher besties.” Once we get to our destination of choice, let them know you care about them by sending them a postcard of the beautiful beach, or pictures of the trip. Because our teacher’s hat is always on, send pictures of cool classroom items you may stumble upon on the road. These simple yet thoughtful gestures will make them feel included as if they are there.

Now all road trips must end, but your connection with your colleagues does not. It is also always fun to catch up with colleagues over the summer. Find time to meet up with your teacher besties for lunch or dinner. During the meet up you can bounce ideas off each other and discover new ways to teach lessons for the upcoming school year. Just being able to talk to others that we can relate to is key, and even crucial to our self-development. If unable to meet up, you can create a text group chat among your teacher besties to keep everyone in the loop.

Ultimately, to maintain longevity in the field of teaching, you must have passion to serve, but you must be able to balance serving with self-care. It is my hope that the road trip helped you to learn how to decompress rest, and recharge for the fall, ready to serve, support, and guide our students.

About the Author
Headshot2 Ebonie Campbell 400x400 1

Ebonie Campbell possesses a decade of experience teaching computer science at Maury High School in Norfolk, VA. She is currently engaged in a grant project with CodeVA serving as a Research-Practice Partner with Computer Science (CS) for CTE. The grant’s primarily objective is to advance computer science teachers by providing CS endorsements. This initiative supports high school teachers in Virginia, enabling them to acquire computer science endorsements, impart more advanced skills and concepts, and develop a strong sense of self-efficacy and identity as CS educators. Furthermore, the grant specifically targets teachers who are presently instructing introductory-level CS in schools with large populations of underserved students, including those from low income, rural, and students of color. Ebonie aims to boost participation in computer science courses and foster interest in the field among underrepresented minorities and women. Ebonie holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in education. She loves spending quality time with her husband and her twin sixteen-year-old daughters. She and her family reside in Virginia Beach, VA.