By Tonnie Martinez
Many teachers are starting to feel it. In the midst of the field days, senior-itis, music programs, sports banquets and May craziness, there is that twinge of worry about what students’ lives will be like during the summer. For some teachers, thinking about the long stretches of time without positive adult role models or issues of food insecurity can be more worrisome than than whether a student will lose academic ground. We asked educators if they kept in touch with their students over the summer and if they did, how they did. Here are their replies:
EC: I teach 8th grade Social Studies. I have a personal rule with my students that I don’t add them on social media. One the last day of school I grant the requests of those who have attempted to add me; this normally creates a storm of kids adding me. Also, I think it’s been important to follow my students’ parents on social media. It allows me to access their lives outside of school. This also helps me to connect with the parent and build trust between myself and them. To answer your question, I use both social media to stay in touch and also attend various events throughout the summer. I attend basketball games, swim meets, the local 4H fair and non-sporting events as well. This also helps build connections with students that will be in my class the next year.
SH: I’m a social worker and I’m sending postcards to all my students this summer. I’m planning at least three cards for each student this summer. I hope they write back!
TG: I teach math to 8th grade students. We have a group of students that have been recommended for Algebra 1 next year so I have set up a Google Classroom for these students. They will be working through some concepts they need to have mastered before starting Algebra 1. I will post instructional videos with guided practice and individual practice there. Answer keys will be posted on Fridays so they can check their practice. I will Google Hangout with students who need extra help or face-to-face if necessary.
MM: I am an elementary teacher. I give my students an envelope with a stamp on it to my home address. They can write a note to me over the summer and I’ll write them back. When students take advantage of this, we are summer pen pals! I send some of my students stamps when I know money is tight at home.
AK: I teach ESL K-3. I always give my students my phone number and they can call me once over the summer. I have done this since I started teaching and most students take advantage of the opportunity to touch base over the summer.
JR: I teach high school English. For the last few years I have created a Google doc for each of my five preps. Each class creates a name for their group. Students check in and add a line or two each week. It’s interesting how each class personality shines through each document. Some of my past students have shared that our summer correspondence was a lifeline for them.
Do you keep in touch with your students over the summer? Let’s keep the dialogue going in the comments below!