Most drama teachers find that their summers are just as busy as the school year. There are always lots of things to do. Let us help you get organized with some suggestions for tasks you can complete in the summer to set yourself up for success come September. We’ve even included a handy checklist at the bottom of this post.
Many drama teachers are one-person wonders, meaning they do almost everything themselves. From lesson planning to directing and producing shows, it can get lonely and isolating. And you’re likely working in a classroom, shop, or auditorium with no windows! So before you start any other tasks, TAKE A BREAK. Even for a day. Even for an hour. Rest! Get outside, get some natural light and fresh air, and recharge your batteries. Reconnect with your family and friends. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so refill yours first (both metaphorically and literally — enjoy some tasty beverages and good food while you’re at it!) before jumping into drama class tasks.
What went well? What didn’t go so well? What lessons did your students love? Which ones didn’t resonate with them? What lessons would be better suited for older or younger grades? Take some time to review your year and your lessons, reflect on what you and your students did (journaling is great for this), and refresh your lesson plans. The Drama Teacher Academy is a great resource to find new lessons to add to your repertoire.
Clean out and purge your costume and prop stocks. Go through your tech equipment and see what needs repairing or replenishing. Check your classroom supplies and see what needs tossing — dried out markers, scrap paper, and so on. Make a detailed master inventory list of what you have, and make a second list of what you need to purchase.
Order some perusals, visit the library, and read some new plays. This is not only helpful for season planning and classroom scene study material, but also for your creative inspiration. While you’re at it (and if your budget allows), get out and see some shows this summer. Allow yourself to enjoy being an audience member, and get your creative juices flowing for future productions.
Work on or act in a community theatre show. Join an improv group. Take a dance class. Attend a theatre conference. Study stage combat. Work at a summer theatre camp. Join an online drama teacher group. Bring out your arts and crafts supplies and make/build something. Write anything — scenes, character sketches, song lyrics, whatever you like. Travel, if possible. Gather inspiration from new and different sources, so you can return to classes in September brimming with energy and ready to take on the new school year.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.