Teach on the Beach: How to Take Professional Development on Vacation

July 17, 2018

Alexandra Mercer

Ed.D. in Leadership


As you soak up the last bit of summer and reflect on the upcoming school year, you may wonder: How can I simultaneously relax and learn? These days, it’s easy.

Here’s a simple guide to the books, podcasts and Twitter chats that can help you develop professionally while you work on your tan.

Break out a good book

Summer is the time to relax and read. Among the collection of magazines and easy reads you bring to the beach or pool, throw in a book focused on professional development. It’s a great way to keep your mind working (because some of those summer reads can be a little too easy) and prepare yourself for a successful year.

If you’re looking to learn without feeling like you’re learning, branch out further. There are so many books about learning, teaching and the lives of children around the world that will capture your attention and broaden your horizons that don’t make you feel like you’re reading a textbook.

Need some ideas? My personal favorites are Teaching Smarter: An Unconventional Guide to Boosting Student Success by Patrick Kelley, Why Don’t Students Like School? by Daniel T. Willingham and Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan.

Listen and learn

If you’re anything like me, you like to throw in earbuds and go for a chill stroll on the boardwalk or along the water. If you get tired of the same summer tunes, break up the monotony with an opportunity to grow as an educator. Teacher podcasts are short and sweet, and the options are virtually endless.

It’s almost too easy to look up podcasts specific to your teaching needs. But, if I can make a recommendation, check out Truth for Teachers, which serves as a motivational hub for educators. I loved it so much on vacation that I have added it to my weekly listening schedule.

Enter the Twittersphere

You may think Twitter is not for you; I thought so, too! But teachers are all over Twitter, hosting chats, sharing ideas and discussing the education topics of the day. Get started by searching a few common hashtags like #edchat and #TEACHers. You can also follow more targeted ones like #ellchat (for teachers of English language learners), #edtech (for discussions about the latest educational technology) and #ntchat (for new teachers).

When you’re on the beach with just your phone to entertain you, you can spend hours on Twitter participating in chats like my absolute favorite, #OK2ask, in which friendly teachers from around the world share resources and offer support. Not only can you follow education influencers and gather new skills for the school year, but you can also build your own brand as an educator and share what you know.

ACE your towel time

ACE’s courses are travel-ready, and mine travel with me to the beach! Watch presentations on your phone by the pool, read academic articles on your tablet at the beach and participate in course discussions on your laptop pretty much anywhere! I have done all three, and it cannot be beat.

Summer is a time for teachers to relax, reboot and ready themselves for the next school year. By following these tips and taking your professional development to the beach or pool with you, you can ensure that your summer meets all expectations!

American College of Education’s fully online programs means you can work toward your graduate degree anywhere, at any time. Explore all our graduate-level programs to find the one that fits your goals.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.
Alexandra Mercer
Alexandra Mercer, Ed.D. in Leadership

Alex has been teaching for six years, leading classrooms abroad in Korea, Japan, Thailand and Morocco. She continues to be active in the global English education community and loves writing about what she's learned along the way.

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