For most of us, the summer of 2020 is still a big “who knows?” There are so many unanswered questions. Will camps be open? Will vacations be possible? It’s hard to wrap our minds around what the next few months will look like (let alone, life after that).
But one thing is for sure—online learning is here to stay. Even for teachers! Why not jump into a course or two for YOU this summer? There are tons of offerings that are free or super inexpensive. Some of them are short (just an hour or so) and others are more of a commitment, but they all have the potential to make an odd summer a little more fruitful! Check out our top online summer courses for teachers.
Invest Time For the Kids
Even though you’re exhausted, we know a piece of your heart is still with your students—the ones you didn’t get to hug goodbye AND the new faces you’ll meet—whether virtually or in person—come fall. Here are some options for their sake.
Addressing Trauma: The impact of the pandemic on children’s mental health isn’t yet known. But we do know that kids need our support and that even before COVID-19, childhood trauma was a growing concern. Right now, Starr Commonwealth is offering its online course, Trauma-Informed Resilient Schools, for FREE (it usually costs $199.99). Jump on this—we don’t know how long it will last.
Family Engagement: It’s nice when parents stay connected, but how important is it? This free course from Harvard University explores why family engagement leads to improved educational outcomes and how teachers can foster this kind of involvement.
Critical Thinking Through Art: We know that teaching critical thinking skills is important, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Enter art! This free course, based on the National Gallery of Art’s PD program for teachers, shows how to use famous works of art to develop students’ abilities to observe, reason, and investigate.
Culturally Responsive Teaching and Equity: We all want to grow in our insight and sensitivity to the different backgrounds of the students we teach. Until the end of July, these courses on culturally responsive teaching or ensuring equity in online education are only $1.
Up Your Technology Game
Let’s face it—distance learning happened in the blink of an eye, and no one was prepared. When it came to brand-new platforms, we only had the bandwidth for the basics. While you’re catching your breath this summer, why not take one of these online summer courses for teachers that makes you feel like a pro if/when we need to do this again?
Teaching Online: Relevant, for obvious reasons. This free course from Coursera (Learning to Teach Online) explains successful distance strategies, from planning activities and assessments to keeping students engaged.
Master Your Platforms: There are free or inexpensive teacher training courses for almost every platform out there, from Zoom (includes ongoing technical support!) to Seesaw (includes some optional live sessions) to Google (G Suite for Education, which includes Google Classroom, Slides, Docs, etc.). Just a few hours of learning can make a world of difference.
Indulge Your Curiosity
Do you secretly wish you could play guitar like Clapton or dance like Beyoncé? What topic would you love to know more about? Summer is the perfect opportunity to dive into those “if only I had the time” potential passions!
Dancing: Whether you want to up your Tik Tok game or just impress your family in the kitchen, Steezy is the place to start. Free for 7 days and then $8.33 or $20 a month, depending on your commitment.
Another Language: Who knows when we’ll be traveling to other countries again, but when we do, we’ll be ready. Rosetta Stone is still the best of the best for learning a new language, and at $12 a month, it’s pretty affordable. Duolingo, a free app, is a fun way to practice.
The Enneagram: It’s impossible to avoid ennea-talk these days, but what does it all mean? Could it be a useful tool for personal growth? More and more people think so. If you’re curious, check out this course, taught by two licensed psychotherapists and only $16.99.
Guitar: If you’ve been wondering where to start, Justin Guitar is your answer. We love Justin Sandercoe’s well-organized site and great Australian accent—plus the fact that he charges absolutely nothing for these top-notch lessons.
Sewing: There’s nothing like having a sewing machine in the basement but lacking the skills to make a simple facemask. (Ask us how we know.) If you relate, check out this free online class at MellySews.com.
Relish the Nesting
It’s hard to enjoy our houses when they’re doubling as our classrooms and we barely have time to load the dishwasher. Now that we can breathe a little, maybe we can learn some ways to make our homes a little cozier.
Houseplants: Plants can be finicky, healthy one day and refusing to thrive the next. Skillshare to the rescue with this free class on Happy Houseplants. Happy plants = happy people.
Interior Design: Sick of your house yet? Same. Check out Interior Design Basics on Skillshare. This fun (free!) course helps you identify your personal style and curate a color palette. It even includes a couple of sample styling projects. If you want to access more classes on Skillshare (there are a ton), they offer 14 days for free before charging a $19 monthly fee.
Organization: Okay, so these aren’t free. But watch GetOrganizedGal’s promo video for “7 Days to Dramatically Decluttered Home” (or the home office one) and we bet you’ll be as ready to shell out the 29 bucks as we are.
Baking: The pandemic has sparked an unprecedented interest in baking, and we get it—kneading dough is calming and freshly baked bread is the best. Join the trend with a free class (or five!) at The Online Baking Academy. From sourdough to focaccia, it’s all there.
What online summer courses for teachers most interest you? Share in the comments below.
Plus, our top summer jobs for teachers.