“Besides recharging my batteries, I rethink some of my plans, lessons, etc. that didn't go as well as I had hoped," said one reader.

The phrase ‘summer vacation’ often implies exotic destinations, way too many hot dogs, and unfortunate tan lines, but for educators around the country, it’s also a time to recharge and give themselves the latest upgrade.

For many people, summer vacation is a time that existed in the ‘good ol’ days’ when for two or three months your only problem was figuring out how to stave off boredom. But imagine if you could once again have those months before you went back to work for another year? What would you do with your time?

Recently we asked our eSchool News (eSN) educators that exact question:  “As a teacher, administrator, or school staff member, what’s one summer ‘must’ that you do in order to plan for the upcoming school year?”

And though barbeques and traveling are still on their summer ‘to-do’ lists, many educators go above-and-beyond by reflecting and implementing improvements, getting professional development, and even creating resource spreadsheets for themselves and for their peers.

Here are the top six summer ‘musts’ from our readers, which have been edited for brevity and are in no particular order:

1.Summer reading

“I always reread Harry Wong’s book: The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher. It puts me in the right frame of mind, and reminds me of all the little things to think of before the first day of school, such as having a procedure for everything already mapped out and quickly addressing the things students are most worried about.” – Chris Graham-Herring

“I read at least one highly recommended education book to refresh my teaching skills. This summer, I am reading Focus: Elevating the Essentials for Radically Improved Student Learning by Mike Schmoker. I also spend more time outdoors to refresh my energy level.” – Eileen DiCarmine

“We have opened our school library during the summer (one day per week) for story time, check out, Accelerated Reader quizzes, activities, lunch or snacks, themed weeks, and more. We are volunteering our time to help prevent the ‘summer slide.’ We are blessed to have dedicated teachers and principal to allow this to occur.” – Dortha Johnston, School Librarian, Emerald Shores Elementary, Fla.