June 6, 2021
I have heard it said, "teachers are so lucky that they only work ten months out of the year. Who else has the privilege of having a whole two months off?" It takes discipline, planning, and a firm establishment of boundaries to leave work at work. Many educators have work bags filled with a laptop, books, and papers that need grading or lessons that need planning. One also has to be intentional about making time for other aspects of life. And let's not mention the relationships with students who view their teacher as counselor, mentor, or parent. The relationship may not be burdensome, however, all relationships require time, commitment, attention, and resources. These relationships do not pause or come to an end in June.
By the time April rolls around, many teachers begin to breathe a sigh of relief as they summon the last molecule of strength to finish strong. Before the thought of a summer vacation settles and the educator considers which passport stamp they'll collect, the first coded email about not leaving before one's contracted time pops up.Then comes the notice about a departmental planning meeting on the heels of the end-of-school staff meeting. A few days pass and then the kicker--staff development. Do we dread these things? Sometimes (hey, I'm being honest). Are they necessary? Some information can effectively be shared via email, but educators actually enjoy learning and being a part of training sessions that are practical, relevant and interesting.
Before you succumb to the temptation of assuming that summer means an unfair, uninterrupted two month break, please consider the following:
A) It isn’t free - many times a ten-month salary is stretched to cover summer months
B) Educators go toe to toe with classrooms filled with students five days a week and spend more waking hours with students than most parents
C) Summer months are for professional development and preparation (and visits to the beach) and it is made even shorter, because we have to report back before the students
D) Administrators do not get a summer vacation
E) Isn’t a worker worthy of his or her hire and rest? So what if an educator decides that for a time they will be unavailable? No one can pour from an empty glass.
F) Let’s be serious, for the amount that many are compensated, allowing for a summer break is the least systems can do
G) Many educators use their summer to TEACH! Yup, surprise, surprise. The cost of living is no joke, and some are just passionate about helping
To those who choose to take a break after a LONNNGGGG 180 days, kudos! Do a little dance, have a little fun, and find some new restaurants🙃. A break is deserved, especially in light of pandemic teaching, hybrid classrooms, and everything else happening in our world. And to those who feel like there’s a badge of honor or raise for working non-stop, well, there isn’t.