The school year is wrapping up for most teachers and summer vacation is almost here. Transitioning from a busy, action-packed routine to a more relaxed and carefree one can be difficult… right?!? 😉

 Looking for a few ideas to enjoy your summer AND get inspired for next year? Here is our list. 

1.) Binge watch a target language series on Netflix.

You spend so much time making sure students are getting target language input to stretch their proficiency, strengthen their interpretive skills, and introduce them to new cultures. Now it’s your turn. Netflix has a variety of shows so try out the pilot episodes of a few until one grabs your attention. (Don’t forget, you can also add subtitles to most everything on there).

You might want to check out:

Velvet, Celia, Cuba and the Cameraman, The Time in Between, The New Legends of Monkey, El Internado,  El Chapulín Colorado

2.) Go on a cultural adventure.

Take a day trip to a big city! Where ever you live, you’re only a short flight or drive to an exciting cultural hotspot with tons of native speakers… New York, LA, Chicago, Montreal, Miami, San Antonio, San Francisco’s Chinatown. I know vacations aren’t always in the budget, but if you search for flight or hotel deals, you can do it in a very affordable way. Wander around, take a form of transportation you don’t normally use, talk to locals, or visit a market. Even experiencing a culture OUTSIDE of the ones you teach can be really refreshing and inspire new, fresh ideas.

3.) Enjoy a meal at an ethnic restaurant.

Shake up your dining routine and try a new dish from another target culture. Search out a new restaurant and invite a friend or family member to join you. I had the best dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in NYC’s Chinatown and Kara and I finally tasted some amazing poutine at La Banquise in Montreal. Both were top notch experiences! Teachers are so accustomed to eating quickly during their busy schedules so it’s time to force yourself to slow down and really savor a unique meal. Plus, it’s a great way to support small business owners in the community!    

4.) Catch up on pop culture.

Find out what’s hot and what’s happening around the world. Staying current helps us relate to our students and show relevant examples and authentic resources in our lessons. Here are a few ideas to help you get “in the know” this summer:

  •  Follow the World Cup, which takes place June 14-July 15 in Russia or follow @FIFAWorldCup on twitter
  • Set your internet browser to a homepage from another country and catch up on the news as you sip your morning coffee
  • Discover the latest and greatest music through iTunes “new music” or with a new TL station on Pandora. When you find a song you love, add it to a new playlist for next year!
  • Find a few new accounts to follow on your favorite social media platform – Read firsthand what’s happening with soccer superstar Messi (he’s sharing sweet peeks of his new baby), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, or K-pop princess MinHa
5.) Give yourself permission to take a break.

While it is last on this list, it is probably the most important. If you’ve been dying for time to rework an old unit or reorganize files on your computer… by all means – go for it! However, it’s okay to put work on hold during the summer while you rest, enjoy time with family and friends, and do the things that recharge you! Then when you’re (mentally) ready, start to play with new ideas for next year. My best ideas usually come when I’m traveling or chatting with friends or when I stumble across something amazing by accident. So enjoy yourself, do what you love to do, and let inspiration come to you! 

What’s on your TO-DO list during your summer vacation?

Share your Netflix recommendations, travel deal tips, or other tips to make the most out of summer break ! 


  1. Kara Parker

    I want to make a new music playlist with some new releases from this year. Any suggestions?

    • Shane

      Yes! Chocquibtown is my favorite new find this year! I was turned on to them by the song Nuqui, but they have lots of great songs. And cool videos! 😊

      • Megan Smith

        They sing with Prince Royce in his new “90 minutos” song that I expected to hear a lot during the World Cup! I love them too!

  2. JP Villanueva

    I love this post! We all have to take care of ourselves, and it’s ok to binge in the summer. Items, 1, 3, 4, and 5 are all about binges (yay!). I love Item 2, dong things outside our target culture. Every summer I love to take a beginner language class, to put myself in the students shoes. It’s ASL this summer, wish me luck!

    • Megan Smith

      I’m inspired by your drive to learn new languages! I bet your students are, too!

  3. Samantha Uebel

    Since I use Spotify a lot in class to play French music for my kids the Discover Weekly playlist that it creates for me consists of mostly just French music. I’ve found a lot of new music through that whether it’s currently on the top charts or an oldy but goody.

    • Megan Smith

      I’m wanting to dive into some French music this summer so I can hear the langauge more… any specific artist/group suggestions?

  4. Rachel

    Netflix has a series called Money Heist (Casa de Papel)). It has the first two season up at the moment. It is good!

    • Megan Smith

      Thanks for sharing! I’ll check it out!

  5. Laura McClintock

    I love all of these! As World Language teachers, we are constantly looking for ways to keep our language skills up over the summer. I love the idea of binge watching a Netflix series! You might be interested in my recent blog post: Although this post is mainly directed toward students, much of this could easily apply to teachers as well. Thanks for sharing your ideas and enjoy your summer!

  6. Tracy Imamura

    I’m heading to Japan!! And binge watching a Japanese soap opera!!!

    • Megan Smith

      Sounds awesome! What is the name of the soap opera? (In case others are looking for something to check out?)

  7. Flori

    Anytime you travel to Spain, take your teacher ID with you if want to enjoy the free entrance to museums. However, make sure it writes “teacher” on your ID and not “staff”
    I visited “Prado Museum” in Madrid for FREE.

    • Megan Smith

      Wow! Great tip! Thanks for sharing!


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