Educator Development

6 ways to stay professionally engaged during the summer

The hard-earned summer months are a great time for educators to relax from a hectic school schedule. Recharging and gearing up for the next year is an important part of summer break. We have compiled six ways for you to grow your Educator Development network (PLN) and continue your learning (while you’re relaxing) from June through August!

1. Organize your resource collections

Start planning and getting organized for next year by creating or updating collections on You can easily organize files, videos and websites by grade level, topic or lesson plan. You can also invite your grade level team or other members of your PLN to discuss and collaborate on the collection with you!

2. Attend an Edcamp

Edcamps are free, educator-led Educator Development opportunities that happen all over the U.S. Topics are chosen the day of the sessions, and session leaders are also participants. Edcamps are typically one-day events where collaboration is key. Find one happening in your area!

3. Participate in a Twitter chat, or find a new one to join

If you can’t attend an event in person, there are hundreds of Twitter chats happening online every week with educators around the world (PD in pajamas!). You can browse chats by grade level, topic or subject area, or here are five popular chats to get you started. If it feels like you never have time to join a chat during the school year or you want to drop into a new chat, summer is a great time to do so! No need to feel intimidated by Twitter chats for educators, read our getting started guide from a Twitter skeptic.

4. Learn a new skill or tool that interests you

Is there an app or technology tool you have been wanting to try out with your students? Do you want to experiment with a flexible seating plan in your classroom? Summer is a great time to play around with new tools to see if they will work for you. Start brainstorming and planning for things you would like to try next year. Participate also offers free and paid courses about a variety of topics like school culture, media literacy and speaking skills, to name a few.

5. Seek out a mentor

Ask an educator you want to learn from, whether in your school or in your PLN, to mentor you throughout the year. This can be someone you talk to regularly, or on an as-needed basis – whatever works best for you both! Set some basic guidelines so you are both clear about what you hope to accomplish. And also make sure you communicate how much time you can commit. A mentor both challenges and supports you, giving you space to be the best you can be. This person can be a great source of advice, feedback and collaboration to start the school year off strong!

6. Take a break!

You work hard for your students and school community every day – be sure to take a break this summer. No matter what you are doing, we hope you rest over the next few months and come back refreshed and ready to tackle a new year!

What are you doing this summer to stay engaged and plan for the new year? Share it on Twitter with the hashtag #howiparticipate so other teachers can be inspired!

Caroline Weeks is a senior marketing coordinator at Participate. You can connect with her on Twitter @caroline_weeks_.