As summer vacation nears, we often share our plans for travel, relaxation, and family time. This year, make a commitment to challenge yourself to consider how you will rejuvenate as a Catholic teacher. Spend time inquiring with colleagues, administrators, and local teachers’ associations about summer courses, online learning communities, and professional development opportunities. This edition of Today’s Catholic Teacher provides a wealth of resources to inspire summer rejuvenation for both you and your students.
Three articles in this issue support your plans for a relaxing and productive summer. In the administrator’s corner, Toni Moore emphasizes why professional learning is so essential for the growth of teachers. Barb Szyszkiewicz provides “bite-sized professional development” ideas for individuals looking for low-cost, on-your-own-schedule opportunities. If you are considering an online course, Lisa Lawmaster Hess shares a concise overview of important considerations to ensure that the course meets your expectations. And finally, be sure to follow Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur’s advice and give yourself an opportunity to relax and recharge this summer!
As you prepare for your summer break, your students are making their own preparations. They may dream of swimming, camping, or ice cream. But research demonstrates that students need to be academically engaged to prevent “summer slide.” Kate Daneluk provides a wealth of resources to share with parents and points out the importance of summer work, including studying the Catholic faith — an element often missed amidst academic learning goals. Another key facet of summer work is to remind parents about the importance of choice. You can provide a list of varied activities and projects and then let the children select which ones they would like to pursue.
A final theme of this issue surrounds homework — often a dreaded part of the daily routine for both families and children. Mary Lou Rosien shares key ideas about the role of homework in today’s classrooms. Personally, I’ve been interested in the role and purpose of homework since my beginning days as a teacher. More recently I decided to devote significant class time to the topic of homework in my middle school methods course at Assumption College. The articles in this edition provide an important jumping off point for reflective practice on the role of homework.
May your summer be filled with peace, relaxation, and rejuvenation!
Dr. Lisa D’Souza