Have you ever dared to say these words- “You’re lucky you’re a teacher. You get the summers off”? If so, you should be throat punched. Or maybe you need to know what most, not all, teachers do during the summer.
For the first week, we try to sleep in, but our internal clocks won’t let us, so we still wake up at the butt crack of dawn. We try to relax on the couch to un-fray our nerves from the last week of school, but we can’t really sit on the couch without feeling guilty about all the things we “should be doing”. Like cleaning, grocery shopping, entertaining our kids who are also on summer break. You know, parental stuff. Or, we should be planning the curriculum for next year because we won’t be teaching what we have taught for the last ten years, instead, we will be teaching two new classes, so we have get ready. Oh, and we’re moving classrooms, so we had to bring home all of our “school junk”- as my hubby likes to call it- so we really need to go through that and purge some of the materials we have had for 157 years and never touched. But do you know what we think when we contemplate doing any of this?
So, of the 8 weeks we get for summer break, a couple are probably spent in some sort of professional development, maybe we go on a vacation with our family, and the other time is spent prepping, and planning, and combining, and curating, so that when we return, we have a chance to maintain our sanity.
Now, let me clarify. I LOVE my school. I am PUMPED to be teaching new classes because I get tired of hearing myself talk about the same things over and over. I am OVER THE MOON about my new room, and I have probably spent WAY too much on my vision for the new space- think flexible seating, coffee shop atmosphere, black/gold/silver/gray- it’s going to be so beautiful…I hope. So I have assigned many (okay all) of these tasks to myself. I could wait until we return to work on July 31st, but that is NOT how I roll. I am a planner extraordinaire, and I DO NOT fly by the seat of my pants if I can help it.
I guess I’m just trying to say that most teaching professionals that I know never stop working, they just aren’t in front of students for 9 weeks in a row. Instead they are anticipating the time when they will be in front of students again, and they want to make it as smooth a transition back into the school year as possible.
So if you see a teacher, please don’t utter that phrase. It’s insulting. It’s false. And it’s rude. Just say thank you, and maybe buy them a cocktail.