As a teacher, I do have summers off. In my younger teaching years, I don't really remember how they were spent. I know they were busy with marching band, church trips, marching band, vacation, marching band and home to-do list that I didn't have time for during the school year and marching band. I don't do marching band anymore, so this summer has been very relaxing, bordering on lazy!
There has been the usual to-do list, particularly for living in a new home. My big projects were clean and organizing the garage, leveling the shed, etc. But the best part has been waking up early every morning, reading the paper, going for a swim, wasting time on FB and all before 7AM. I've read several books (I'm an avid reader) and still working on two. I was supposed to read one for a faculty study but haven't managed to get to that yet!
This summer, I've realized it's OK to relax. Teaching is hard and extremely draining; an drain that most people don't understand. You need the down time in order to recharge. I've seen so many great teachers that just go at it constantly, only to burnout and get out of teaching. I don't know how many friends I started with that have quit as band directors, but I would bet that it's most of them. Though I did start out my career as a "hare", I have migrated to being the "tortoise" and it's a good place.
You need time to reflect on your past school year - success, failures and stale points. Reflection is so important and with the hurried mess that goes on during the year, there is no time for quiet, sustained reflection. You need to learn more about your profession (below), start a new hobby and get inspired for the next year. You'll need it in excess as staff development begins soon and that will start the numbness all over again.
This summer has taken me to Italy (Venice pic above!) & San Antonio (band convention), went to some ballgames, discovered "Downton Abbey", took lots of walks with Julie and Bentley, heard lots of live music, developing a new website for my band (work in progress), joined a wine club and babysat my new grand-daughter Kenzie! The SA trip is considered a work trip but it is relaxing in many ways. I spent many hours in clinics and concerts that just amaze me. Band directors amaze me in their willingness, no zeal, in helping others to be better teachers. Their number one professional priority seems to be to make their kids better people. Their second is to make other directors want to be better. I heard a concert by the Air Force Band of the West that had two of my favorite pieces Holst "1st Suite in Eb" and "O Magnum Mysterium" . Those two pieces were worth the trip by itself.
Unfortunately, I have written very little new music. This has been my one disappointment. I have completed two pieces for the fall and edited a few old ones, but I had really hoped to do more. But I'm taking the joys of my summer, and ready to start again. Let's do this!