Summer, for me, is a truly magical time.
My batteries need recharging after the emotional beatdown the school year has given me; I’m 31, and I found 1 long silver-white strand of hair and a couple of little gray ones at the end of this past school year- teaching is literally making me gray before my 40s… my mom just turned 54, and she’s not even graying…
I know there’s a big debate going on in this country about teachers and their pay, but that’s not what this is about. No, we’re going to explore what I do during the 2 months off where I’m not educating the youth of America since sometimes that seems to be a thing of mystery for most people. Like, why should we make more money when we get all this time off.
Believe it or not, I do still work my teaching job in the summer; just because I’m not teaching kids, does not mean I’m not working…
So, here are 10 things I (and probably a lot of teachers) do during the summer
- Appointments. Literally all the appointments- Doctor, Dentist, Eye, Hair, and repeat if necessary. Lord help us if one of us breaks during the school year because we get our check-ups in the summer. We just don’t have time during the year with jobs and extracurriculars. Summer is a time to be poked and prodded, so the whole family gets scheduled and goes in… this also includes the animals.
- Archive. As the ESL Coordinator, Dept. Head, Teacher, I have so much paperwork and information that is sensitive to each school year, so I spend a good chunk of time moving all of last year’s information into my “Archive” while making sure I keep the stuff that matters for this year.
- Plan. Yea, believe it or not, the first week of summer, I still hadn’t turned over to ‘summer mode’ and was actually planning for next year- and that was just lesson planning. My position means I also make schedules for not just my students, but my paraprofessional staff also. I tend to go to my school at least 10-15 days in the summer just to hash out schedules with the people involved (you would not believe how hard it is to get a principal’s attention in the summer).
- Family Trip (maybe). DisneyWorld (last summer) and this whole IVF thing have us broke, so no family trip this year. But, typically, this is what we save up for all year.
- Work. Many teachers work their 2nd job. I’m in the process of building my 2nd job, but I do actually go and work summer testing in my district. Some teachers do summer school, some tutor, I work summer testing for a week. I should also add here that coaches and club sponsors tend to still kind of work their jobs during the summer (summer camps, club officers preparing for next year, etc…). I co-sponsor our community service club, so I get a lot of hours submitted over the summer that I have to input into our spreadsheet. I also sponsor our campus Book Club, and our President is very active, so I chat with her A LOT during the summer… even when she was in Greece…
- Study. Last summer, I studied, took and passed my Principal‘s exam. This summer, I’m studying for my 7-12 English exam which I’ll be taking in a couple of weeks. If I’m not studying for certification exams, I’m studying teaching strategies. I have 4 books I’ve been flipping through this summer: No More Fake Reading, The Reading Strategies Book, The Writing Strategies Book, and Assessment and ESL: An Alternative Approach. I thought about also getting 180 Days, but since every other English teacher did, I figured we’d pick each other’s brains in August anyway.
- Hibernate. The winter is packed full of activities with Christmas, New Years, family in town, etc… that summer is really the only time of year where I get to ‘hibernate’ per se. I go out occasionally, but, overall, I don’t like to go anywhere and tend to live the braless pajama life.
- Summer Cleaning. Spring Cleaning doesn’t occur in this house- way too busy- but summer cleaning is my stress reliever. In one month, we’ve donated 7 giant trash bags of stuff to random charities. Like, if it hasn’t been seen or used since last summer, Bye Felisha!
- Professional Development. We are required to get so many hours of development each summer per our contract. Honestly, I don’t mind these because we get to choose what we want to go to, and our district has SO MANY OFFERINGS that there really is something for everyone. In addition, we have to take 5-6 compliance courses (Allergies, Bloodborne Pathogens, Suicide Prevention, Bully Prevention, Child Abuse Prevention, and Sexual Harassment) which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. These are literally the same thing year after year- even the quizzes are the same… after awhile, you don’t really need the training and can just go straight to the quiz and pass (perks of being on your 8th year of teaching!).
- Rest- In Silence. Yes, there are days where I just sit there with no computer, no phone, no TV, no nothing. I just sit in complete and utter silence; it is so beautiful. I spend almost my entire year with people in my face, asking me questions, pushing my buttons, giving me deadlines that just being able to sit in silence with nothing making any noise at me whatsoever is one of the most magical things I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve been to DisneyWorld.
With #10, many people wonder how I’m able to get any silence with my daughter, and it being summer. The trick is- summer camp. She is an only child, and during summer, she misses her friends and all the activities she does during the year. The summer after Kindergarten, she did NOTHING- oh she was the laziest thing I’d ever seen, and I let it get that way, I know, but I wanted to be lazy too… So, I decided that she’s a kid and doesn’t get to be lazy because my parents forced me to play outside all day, so, that next summer, she was going to YMCA Day Camp where they spend 90% of their time outside. Man, she LOVED IT. So, before we even got to this summer, she begged and pleaded to go back, and I wasn’t going to tell her no. Being an only child can get lonely, and I’m glad that she willingly wants to wake up in the summer to go to Day Camp to play and get out of the house.
And, no, I don’t feel guilty about not hanging out with my daughter all summer- we hang out at night and on the weekends. Plus, I’m her Soccer Coach and one of her Girl Scout Troop Leaders- like, we spend A LOT of time together all year; day camp is a break for both of us.