You’re at a family gathering when your uncle says, patting you on the back, “So, it must be nice to have your whole summer off!”
You’re sitting high in a stylist’s chair getting a haircut when your stylist asks, scissors paused, “So what do you do with three full months of free time?”
You’re waiting in a crazy-long line and killing time by chatting with another waiting beside you. Upon learning you’re in education this stranger notes, “It must be nice to be paid 12 months a year for only 9 months of work.”
As a facilitator of ‘Pages on the Patio’, a professional development opportunity that has been meeting over the summer with an average of 20+ attendees at each session, I am reminded of how much teachers do over summer “break” despite what those outside our field sometimes believe. Those attending ‘Pages on the Patio’ often share with me what classes they are taking during the summer months, what new textbooks and resources they are exploring, what summer classes/programs they are teaching, and/or what education-related books they have been reading (in addition to the ones they bring to our sessions). Clearly, “summers off” is a misnomer.
One benefit of meeting off-site rather than in a district building for ‘Pages on the Patio’ is that community members get to see us working in the summer: they get to see a glimpse of what our summers really look like. Over the course of our four sessions thus far more than a dozen different community members have stopped by to ask us what we are doing—sometimes thanking us for what we do, often times showing surprise that we are working in the summertime. A reminder of how many people think educators simply shut down during the summer months.
So, I took a poll (it wasn’t a very well executed poll, mind you—I simply posed a question on my Facebook page and on my Twitter account) and gathered some of what it is our teachers in the Rochester Public Schools are doing with their “free time” this summer.
Want to know what educators do with their summers “off”? Well, they are:
Plus, many teachers shared that they use the summer to catch up on those items that during the stress and chaos of the school year simply don’t get done:
Of course, this doesn’t even begin to touch on the number of teachers who use the summer to work a full or part-time job: earning a little bit of extra money to help them make ends meet during the school year.
An added note is that educators NEED to take some time off. The school year is hard. It’s really stressful. Teachers have to be on-the-ball eight hours a day for five days a week and then plan what/how they’re going to teach, provide students with feedback on assignments, contact parents, attend meetings, etc.—often outside of that eight hours a day/five days a week time frame. When students leave the building in early June most teachers are spent. Educators need time to reconnect with family, to disconnect from the classroom, to re-center themselves. To de-stress so that in the fall they’re ready to take on the world head on.
So, know that I notice. Know that my Secondary Curriculum and Instruction team notices. Know that we know your students—who likely won’t not notice—benefit from all that you do.
This post brought to you by Heather Lyke, Secondary Implementation Associate
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