Summer – The Good and The Bad

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As summer approaches, it is met with great enthusiasm by most students, teachers, and parents. It’s a time for families to get together, take family getaways, go to the park, curl up and read an amazing book, and just connect as a whole. I vividly remember my summers with my family growing up and cherish all the memories we created. It’s wild to go back and look at old photo albums of our adventures.

Summer for educators is a great time to reflect on the past year and to keep growing, both personally and professionally. This can be done by reading, attending conferences such as EdCamps, connecting with others in the PLN using Twitter, Google +, as well as many other tools. It’s also a great time to recharge your batteries and not do anything education related. This is perfectly acceptable, and quite encouraged.

Most students depart from the last day of school with relentless excitement. Many kids have talked about all the camps they will be attending, vacations they will be taking, and books they’ll read (my personal fav). I share in their excitement for what’s the come. There is no question about it. However, not all kids are as enthusiastic about their departure from school.

You see, for many kids, school is a sanctuary. It is their safe place filled with routines, consistency, and teachers who love and support their academic and social well being. It is the place where they are greeted with a smile everyday and eager friends ready to socialize and work together in class. It’s the place where they can have a hot meal that’s always guaranteed, as well as a snack. Think about this. When summer arrives, students who do not have consistency at home are left in limbo. They are losing the one consistent piece in their lives, school.  Unfortunately, many kids don’t know where their next meal will be coming from. Their parents work 2-3 jobs and are never around to be the role models they hope to be for their kids. It’s not a happy time for some. Some kids can’t play outside or meet friends because of lack of transportation.

I know we can only control what happens in our classrooms, but before you think about creating a countdown of remaining days of school, think about the less fortunate kids. Think about the daily struggles they will face when not in school. Additionally to not knowing where their next meal is coming from, they can receive little to no academic support. Everything I mentioned above is absolutely heartbreaking. But there are steps we can take as educators to continue to make a difference.

Post on your classroom website and recommend books. Be sure to try and reach out connect with parents and students over the summer. This can be done over email, quick phone call, using Remind and Edmodo, attending a child’s game, and writing a letter to students, to name a few. Let them all know you are thinking about them. These small steps can and will go a long way to maintaining a positive influence in all of your student’s lives. Students need us now more than ever. Be the positive, consistent presence in their lives. How will you maintain relationships with students and parents over the summer?

I am a passionate teacher in Stamford, CT. I teach fifth grade ELA/Social Studies. I am proud to be an active member of the Twitter educational community. I am an organizer for #EdCampSWCT, a moderator for #ctedu, technology professional develop leader in my district, and a believer in a high tech/high touch blended learning approach to teaching. I am a certified administrator. I believe in taking risks and working collaboratively to augment student achievement. I love children’s literature and strive to become better everyday. I am a husband and father. Follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach

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