With another academic year now coming to an end, most teachers are getting ready to begin their well-deserved school holidays. While the most important things for teachers to do during the school holidays is rest and recuperate, the summer months can also be a period to do something productive which you simply don’t have the time, or energy, for during the regular school year.

Upgrade your tech skills

In the modern classroom, the role of educational technology is having a huge impact on teaching, communication and administration. As such, spending a few hours improving your tech skills, could be a good investment of your holiday time.

Which training programme you should enrol on, will depending on which systems your school has adopted. The three largest providers of educational applications, Google, Apple and Microsoft all run online training programmes which help teachers be able to use these resources with greater efficiency, The programmes offer training, practice and the option to get certified, which will help boost your digital literacy skills, and be a good addition to your CV.

If you’re an educator who uses Google tools in the classroom, there is the Google Certified Educator Level 1 course which provides literature, videos and activities which will help you with integrating Google resources in the classroom. The course is flexible, so you can start and stop lessons at any time. Then, when you’re ready, you can take the certification exam to verify your level of proficiency.

Apple also offers a professional learning program, called Apple Teacher, which is designed to support teachers who use Apple products for teaching and learning. The programme helps teachers develop technology skills which can be applied during classroom learning. There is also an  interactive quiz which teachers can take to test their new skills. In total there are eight units to complete in order to become an official Apple Teacher.

And not to be left out, Microsoft also offer an educator certification programme, the Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) programme, which enables educators to develop technology competencies in six areas; Education policy, Curriculum and assessment, Pedagogy, ICT/technology tools, Organisation and administration and Professional development.

Catch up on your reading

Buying books to read, but never finding the time to read, seems to be a common vice among teachers. Fortunately, the school holidays provide an excellent opportunity to catch up on all those books that you have been longing to read.

For teachers that don’t already have a pile of books waiting to be read, there are some excellent lists to inspire your reading, such as; the Independent’s ‘40 books to read before you die, the Ultimate Reading List, the BBC’s Big Read (based on the nation’s best-loved novels), or, if you’re looking for something new, you could try the BBC’s list of top 12 novels of the 21st Century.

Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle

Most teachers aim to be positive role models for their students, but when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, we often do not live up to the standards we set. After all, it can be difficult to find the enthusiasm for the gym after marking a hundred notebooks, and late nights planning often lead to us getting insufficient sleep, which in turn feeds a chronic dependency on caffeine.

But there is no reason to despair because according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes less than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes an automatic habit. So during the school holidays teachers have an excellent opportunity to ditch those bad habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle, and here are a few simple habits you can start with;

Drink more water – drinking water first thing in the morning is extremely beneficial for the body. One large glass of water  will fire up your metabolism, hydrate you, flush out toxins, give your brain fuel, and may even make you eat less.

A healthy breakfast – We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but given the choice between waking up earlier to put a nutritious breakfast together and spending an extra 20 minutes between the sheets, many opt for an extra 20 minutes sleep.
But a healthy start to the day really is important and there is an ever-growing body of research emphasising that a nutritious breakfast will energize you for the day, improve your concentration, put you in a better mood  and help keep your diet in check

 Sleep enough – Getting eight hours of sleep a night is believed by many to be the key to a healthy lifestyle. While we are sleeping, our bodies heal and repair. Less than 8 hours sleep can increase the risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, stroke and also contributes to weight gain.

Establish a new exercise routine – Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, increases your strength and flexibility, increases your self-confidence, improves memory, helps you to sleep better and even boosts happiness levels.

A great way to get started with a new exercise routine is by following the NY Times’ 7 minute workout which consisting of 12 exercises. The workout had been designed to ‘fulfill the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.’

Binge watching Television

Binge watching movies and television dramas may not seem like a productive use of time, but there are some genuine benefits for taking some time over the school holidays to put your feet and up enjoy watching the tele.

Firstly, television can expand your knowledge and understanding of the world by watching shows which introduce you to different people, cultures, ideas, and places you might never encounter in real life.

Television can also help develop creativity, particularly if you watch science fiction and fantasy programmes, such as Harry Potter and Doctor Who. Television is also good for your emotional well being, sad films have been found to make viewers more appreciative of their own circumstances, while crying during a movie works like a stress reliever, helping balance the chemical imbalances in your body caused by stress, and getting rid of toxins in the body.

Finally, watching comedy shows is an excellent way to spend some of your holiday time, you’ll be able to forget about the stresses of school life and your health will benefit from an increase in endorphin levels, which in turn helps increase your immunity to disease.