More teachers are taking advantage of a summer course to better prepare for the coming year.
For students, summer represents a long-needed rest from school. The same can be said, however, for teachers. And a summer course is an ideal way to mix some quality time off while prepping for the fall.
Research has shown a direct correlation between an effective educator and depth of educator preparation. It is no secret that the demands put upon educators today often provide no additional time for this type of thoughtful self-reflection and curriculum development.
That is why many teachers use the summer to hone their professional skills while gaining valuable professional credit, which can equate to career advancement and a higher salary. And it can be done without sacrificing other summer activities such as travel.
“The summer course gives teachers, administrators and counselors the time to reflect on old practices, research new practices, and put all this together as they create items that will help them be more effective in the classroom,” says teacher Lisa Johnson-Bowers. “Essentially, the student wins because the teacher has had the time to truly ‘sharpen the saw’”.
Teachers say a small commitment of summer time devoted to professional education and peer-based interaction is preferable to agonizing over the coming year. A professional credit summer course allows teachers to return to the classroom armed with a fresh curriculum and renewed enthusiasm.
“The day is over when teachers need to sit in a university classroom to pick up knowledge and skills. Today, we all have access to just about all of the knowledge in the world, 24-hours a day,” Johnson-Bowers says. “What we need as teachers is the time to take the knowledge and put it to good use. The summer course is just this tool. “
She adds the course allows teachers to hear from their contemporaries, particularly when it comes to changes in the education paradigm. Johnson-Bowers describes the course as “Me Time”.
The summer course is like “Genius Hour” or “Maker Space” for teachers, she says. It’s the opportunity to learn everything about what interests them and to put this knowledge into action. “At the end of the summer the teachers are recharged and ready to go.”
She says that is needed when changes in today’s classroom are so tremendous. Similar to continuing education for lawyers, teachers benefit by staying up-to-date on the latest trends and ideas.
“The insurgence of the common core and the new generation science standards has been complicated with the stress of state testing and the new guidelines for graduation,” she says. “Add technology, blended learning and 1:1 classrooms and you have just enough to push teachers over the edge or at least out of teaching.”
Being an effective educator requires time. Educators strive to create lessons that effectively engage students; that requires time beyond what is allotted during the traditional school day.
This type of preparation, teachers say, allows educators to approach the school year ready, confident, and enthusiastic. It allows educators to collaborate with other professionals, plan effective curriculum and create materials and resources to enhance teaching and learning. This course provides a great opportunity to work directly with your grade level or content.
Educators will have the time think about their previous teaching and align research- based instructional strategies to their practice through extensive curriculum planning and design. Allowing educators to improve their practice over the summer will result in educators starting the year off fully prepared to meet the needs of the students.
Collaborating with professionals is an important piece of the teaching profession. EDUX 9940 gives educators the opportunity to collaborate with their grade level and/or subject and/or school team in order to address ways to close the achievement gap.
“The summer course gives the teacher the opportunity to take a step back and look at the big picture. Then they can start making the changes that they need to make in order to most effectively service the students in their district,” Johnson-Bowers says.
“There is so much that a teacher needs to do in order to make the paradigm changes required that the summer course is a gift to them,” she says. ‘The summer course is both the reward and the inspiration that teachers have been looking for to help them accomplish the necessary changes.”
➢ Utilize research-based instructional strategies in order to plan effective curriculum
➢ Prepare units of study aligned to Common Core, district or state standards
➢ Reflect upon previous lessons and refine them to better meet students’ needs
➢ Integrate 21st Century technology tools into lessons
➢ Participate in literature study in order to stay current on educational research aligned with state/district goals and/or personal professional growth plan
➢ Analyze student data in order to plan instruction or design interventions
➢ Implement research-based classroom design in order to maximize student engagement in an instructional setting