I have some teacher friends that get quite upset when people say, “Oh, it must be nice being a teacher and getting the whole summer off.” They feel undervalued when people say that and feel as if people don’t consider how hard they work during the school year.
Having “summers off” is a myth – to some degree because there are workshops and such, but the average teacher actually does get quite a bit of time to relax.
It is well deserved and much needed time. I won’t argue that. We do work hard during the school year.
Honestly, during the school year it is very hard to shut off my ‘teacher brain’. Even when I am not at work, I am working in my mind. I’m planning and prepping the next lesson, reflecting on the last lesson, trying to work out a new seating chart to break up a discipline issue, wondering why that one student misses class every Tuesday, worrying about the student whose mother has cancer, worrying about the students who are often dirty and hungry, worrying about that one ‘couple’ who seems way to enamored with each other and thinking about paperwork that has to be filed with the principal, with the counselor, with the special ed teacher. There is even actual work that must be done off the clock. Grading is a big task that is often done ‘off the clock’ because it’s impossible to grade artwork for 450 students and do everything else I need to do in one 45-minute prep period. Not to mention that for 180 days of the year, I spend most of my waking hours with 450 12-18-year-olds. The adult mind and body is just not equipped to spend that much time with that much drama!
So when summer rolls around I am more than ready for some time off. And, I do get a lot of it. Is it enough? Probably not, but would it ever really be enough?
I’ve been off school for almost four weeks now. (That seems crazy because it has gone by so fast.) I have been super busy, but much of it has been things I’ve wanted to do. Sure I have spent 18 hours sitting in workshops already but that is just a drop in the bucket!
So here is a glimpse at how I have spent my first four weeks of summer break.