How Your Teens Can Stay Connected to School in the Long Summer Months Ahead

The countdown to 8th grade is on the board in my Middle School classroom. Only days left until the end of the school year.

The hallways are filled with the smell of Axe Body Spray, sprayed a little thicker to cover up the sweat of the summer that is lingering around the corner. The shades are drawn a little lower to shield the blazing sun that glares through our glass windows. Shining way too brightly for teenage eyes.

The academic apathy is wrapped like a cloak around almost everyone. State testing is behind them. And they can’t see the value in what lies ahead right now. Constant reminders to finish strong, play like a broken record over the constant chatter that fills the classroom walls. 

I miss my students over the summer. (Photo credit: Amy Keyes)

Summer is almost here, we can taste the freedom

Summer is just around the corner and so many of us-kids and adults alike-can taste the freedom. And with that freedom, comes a three month rollercoaster with peaks of swimming, and campfires, and Dairy Queen for many. And valleys of boredom and spending overtime with video games and arguing with siblings, and moments of missing school and friends more than anyone thought they would.

And of course, the inevitable summer slide that we all know so well.

I miss the students over the summer

I miss my students over the summer. A lot. We have spent every day together for a really long time. Learning and leaning on one another. Pushing each other to outgrow ourselves. Overcoming challenges side by side, day in and day out. As much as I  need to restore and reset, I  also want kids to know I am  here for them during these months. 

So, as we get close to the final school bell ringing this year, I have some tips to help kids stay connected to school over the summer days ahead. 

3 tips to help teens stay connected to school over the summer

1. Keep in touch with your teachers

For some students, summer is a wonderful adventure filled with social connection and emotional highs. Camps, sleepovers, family trips to the cabin can make summer fly by for many. For others, summer is a time of instability and loneliness. Away from school and friends that they are used to seeing daily. Isolated in family circumstances that aren’t always ideal. 

No matter how summer rolls, those feelings carry into the following school year. Even though we aren’t at school with your kids, we are here to support your kids with social and  emotional boosts as the months go on. 

Remind kids to reach out. Email their favorite teachers from previous years. I guarantee most of us check our email at some point and love getting summer updates. Or, better yet, some of us are even willing to set up a zoom or google meet for an in person smile! Don’t forget we love to go to your sports events, concerts and performances. Send us your schedules!

Every message or call cements a connection to school that will help give kids something to look forward to when the summer sun sets, and hopefully remind them that they have, and will always be important to us even though they are moving on to the next grade.

2. Enjoy reading on your own terms

As a reading teacher, and the mom of teenagers, I know that a little reading every day can pay off in big ways when the school year starts up again. Oftentimes, kids see summer as an escape from academic work. I like to think of it as an opportunity to be creative and enjoy doing things your own way, with your own choice. And yes, while sometimes kids are assigned summer reading or homework, there is plenty of time to explore and bask in the freedom of  growing your mind without others telling you what you need to read and how you need to do it.

Check out a new book. Visit a Little Free Library. Read under a tree, or on a picnic blanket. Read a magazine with your feet in a pool or under the stars. Listen to an audiobook on a run. Start a book club in person or on zoom. Write your own stories. Whatever you read or write, make sure kids have some of the autonomy in what they read and how they read it. It all pays off in the fall. 

3. Do some good things for people

Community service is always important. Any time of the year. Many kids don’t even realize they are sitting side by side with peers that benefit from the positive ways that people can support one another. Encouraging kids to find some time over the summer to volunteer for organizations that support your local community, use their talents to create something that will make someone’s life better, or just reach out in a positive way to someone they know needs support, are ways to also boost their confidence and competence.

The more kids ingrain their mindset in service to others beyond themselves, the stronger their school community becomes as the years pass by. So as I send you off into summer, always remember that that school isn’t just a place you  go-it’s a community you have-even when we are not all in the same place until the school bell rings for the first time in the fall. 

More Great Reading:

24 Things Middle and High School Students Can Do to Keep Busy This Summer

About Amy Keyes

Amy Keyes is the proud mom of two teenagers and a crazy husky-lab named Walter. Married to the best college sweet cheeks a girl could have ever found. Former journalist turned middle school teacher, running and workout enthusiast, and enjoyer of dance parties for one. There's nothing she loves more than watching her kids do what they love and rediscovering herself in the process.

Read more posts by Amy

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