Let me begin by saying that there are few pieces that I am as qualified to write as this one. I have extensive personal experience in ruining numerous summers, so I feel that I have some authority in this matter.
1. Treat your summer vacation like it is a vacation
Most ways to screw up your summer stem from this fundamental mistake: since (for teachers) the word vacation is attached to the word for the season, it is easy to make the mistake of thinking that no work should be done in the summer. This is false. While a brief repose after the end of school rush is entirely warranted, it is important to have some form of work to return to during the summer months. Not having work for too long will make you miserable, lazy, and unthankful.
2. Don’t be deliberate
When summer comes, the form of life given to us by school suddenly disappears; we are then faced with the danger of a formless life. We humans need forms for our lives, and if we do not have a form imposed on us from the outside then we should impose one from within. Everyone will have some form to their summers–the question is whether it will be a deliberate, carefully-considered form, or rather one shaped by whim, chance, and reaction. Making a list of goals is helpful for me in this area.
3. Don’t read
My wife and I noticed recently how, during the school year, neither of us would read at home for pleasure due to the fact that we had just spent the majority of our day reading with our classes. But during the summer, teachers should take advantage of the time to read some of the books you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t gotten around to. It can be tempting to just be lazy about it (see #1) because good reading is a kind of work. Don’t let the summer slip by without feeding your soul on something good.
If there are any others out there experienced in this area of summer-ruination, feel free to leave your own suggestions as well.