Some may think that teachers just get three months off in the summer to relax and rejuvenate; however, that’s not necessarily the case.

Teachers are just as busy during the summer months—if not more—than they are during the school year. We talked to Keith Cassell, the head of the Upper School at Heritage Hall. Mr. Cassell has been in education for 34 years—teaching Social Studies and then serving as principle for the last 17 years.

Linked: So tell us—are teachers busy during the summer?

Cassell: Absolutely. A lot of people think that the life of a teacher in the summer is that they just get three months off to play. However, as soon as the last day of school hits, teachers start preparing for the next year. Some people think that teaching is just a nine or ten month job, but it’s really a 12-month job, just in a different setting.

Linked: In what ways do the teachers prepare?

Cassell: There are a lot of ways in which teachers prepare, a couple of which are brainstorming for lesson plans and attending education classes. Teachers get to really bring in a lot of creativity during these months.

Linked: In what ways do the teachers get to continue their own enrichment?

Cassell: They get to research, travel and visit places that will help enhance their teaching; the goal of a good teacher is not to rest, but to strive to be better. Especially here at Heritage Hall, we are not satisfied with the status quo. We want to be on top of things, up-to-date with society.

Linked: So when you were a teacher, what were some ways that you encouraged your students to keep their minds sharp during the summer months?

Cassell: I always stressed two things: to read—even if the reading puts you out of your comfort zone, and to not be so caught up in society that you don’t learn about the past. Being a Social Studies teacher, I especially focused on the latter. I always told my kids that even if they weren’t alive during a certain time, it is okay to have extensive knowledge about it; don’t just be up-to-date with the times that you are currently in, but be well acquainted with history.

Linked: What are Heritage Hall’s goals for this next school year?

Cassell: As always, we are looking forward to having a good school year and to do whatever we can to have our kids be successful at the collegiate level.

Linked: Thank you for speaking with us—before we go, what is one of the newest teaching method that has been implemented into Heritage Hall?

Cassell: Many of our classes are student-focused. We have a “Heartness Message” that is student-centered. The classroom tables are set up and students sit around it like it’s a big kitchen table—it helps enhance conversations and helps each student be a driver in their education. It’s more participatory-based for the kids.

Teachers do a lot of hard work to make sure your kids have the best education possible, and so often they go unrecognized. If you have any teachers in your life, make sure to give them a little extra encouragement as their summer activities come to a close and they prepare for the start of the next school year.