What do you think the most effective teachers do during their summer break?

A) Read professional books and attends education conferences

B) Develop engaging lesson plans

C) Build their professional network

D) Do something that rekindles their passion for life

As a professional development provider, I’d like to advocate for Option A, reading professional books and attending education conferences. And I think B and C are wonderful things to do over the summer. But if you really pressed me, I’d have to say answer D is the most critical, and here’s why.

In my experience, the single biggest indicator of an effective educator is a sense of joy in the classroom. There is a positive energy and a culture that is accepting and inspiring. Learning is fun, humor-filled, and natural. I submit that if you don’t have a genuine passion for life, you can’t construct this type of environment in your classroom.

So although it’s admirable to attend to professional development in the summer months, and it’s a smart use of time to develop some interesting lessons and build your network, don’t forget to protect your spirit. Make time to do the things that make you shine from the inside out. Why? Because your students deserve optimism, generosity, and passion. And you deserve it, too!