Dolph Petris | July 2018

The Emotional Balance of Summer

It’s here, finally!  Summer, the season that teachers wait for all school year long.  Yes, it IS here.  During the school year, we become consumed with everything that is school, yet we need balance in our day.  Students, curriculum, the school play, adjunct duties.  Staff meetings, district staff development and required trainings.  Grading, report cards, state testing, and… and…

During the entire school year we often think… if I only had a little more time to relax.  Well, you are here and now is the time to relax!  Summer can initially feel like an endless weekend – which is wonderful!  You can sleep-in, and even if you wake up early, you can stay in your jammies!

Finding Balance a Challenge?

Finding balance in the summer can actually be a challenge if not well-managed.  Think of it this way… just as you plan instruction during the school year, you should also plan ‘you time’ for your time off in summer.  Don’t overbook yourself with activities that will occupy your time so much that you still have no time for yourself!

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Summer is a great time to allow yourself to unwind. Do things for yourself that you don’t typically have time for during the academic year.  Plan as you do for your curriculum… But allow your plans to be flexible and contain no hardline requirements that will ultimately just stress you out.

The key to a replenished mindset is balance.

Do what you do and enjoy doing just that.  Find the time to go to the movies, walk the dog, or perhaps go on a much needed road trip.  Summer is a great time to read a book, or two, or…

I like to use some of my time during summer to experiment on art, maybe even testing a technique yet untried.  Without boundaries of any particular assignment or task, I first decide the medium I want to work with, and then go from there.  It is after I have experimented with the medium and created ‘something’ then I decide if the project can be translated in any way to my classroom.  Perhaps the project can be slightly modified to match a particular standard.


So what if you do just that and cannot find a standard to match a project that you worked on?  Or maybe you are having difficulty aligning a particular standard to your project?  No worries!  You can ALWAYS go to the National Core Arts Standards website and find a specific Arts standard that you can easily align with the basic Elements of Art, or Principles of Design.  Either of these categories is certain to be covered in the art project that you created.  What’s more, the National Core Arts Standards site has many resources and lesson plans available for your immediate use.

Our summer duration is never long enough.  Before we know it, the summer is coming to a close and a new school year is about to begin.  If we allow ourselves to have significant downtime, in conjunction with some type of creative outlet, we will find ourselves in a more relaxed state of mind as we prepare to begin the new school year.

Yes, a Gift

Think of it this way, your ability to teach is a gift.  Not everyone can teach, and not everyone is capable to plan in a manner and extent that matches to that of a teacher.  We have great responsibility in our role as teachers as we help to form the lives and character of our future societal generation.

This teaching gift of ours is moot if teacher is not part of the overall equation.  We are human.  We are biological beings that need social and emotional balance in our lives.  If not yet obviously apparent, this article’s purpose is to bring light and formidable value to the significant importance of balance during one’s time ‘off’ after the culmination of the school year, and before the next one begins.

One door closes, and another door opens.  Finding balance during our summer time off will put us in prime position to make this ‘door’ one that easily pivots on a well oiled hinge.

About the Author

Dolph holds a Bachelors of Science, Product Design from Art Center College of Design and a Masters degree in Education. He has spent most of his teaching career as a 6th grade teacher in the elementary school setting with a focus on Gifted and Talented Education and is currently teaching a 5/6 combo in Fullerton, California. He and his wife have several four-legged kids: Bonnie and Clyde, Golden Retriever litter-mates, a street-rescued stray that looks like ‘Benji’ named Noel, Athena the cat, and two American Quarter horses.