Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Teacher's Summer

Today I'm joining a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Stop by for links to this amazing community of writers. 

Today was my first day without school related responsibilities even though school ended nearly two weeks ago.  Since that time I've been packing my classroom as I'm switching to a new position next year and attending professional development meetings.  So this morning, I thought I'd stop for a cup of coffee at Starbucks in celebration of all the possibility in a day without a schedule.  The barista handed me my coffee and said, "You have the summer off now."

Perhaps they noticed that I had actually had a few good nights of sleep since completing report cards, finishing end of year paperwork, and preparing things for the end of the year.  They know me well in there.  We laugh when I say, "No skim today as I need a high-test cup of coffee so I have energy for this day."  Sometimes they look at me and suggest, "Perhaps an extra shot of expresso."  I always assure them that no one could tolerate me with extra expresso.

So when they smiled and suggested "school's out for the summer" as if the party were about to begin, I smiled and nodded to make things easier.  How do you explain to someone a teacher's summer?  Yes, my schedule might be a little more relaxed and my alarm might not be set for 6:00 a.m. Monday - Friday, but summer isn't really "time-off."  School has been out for 9 days and I've been working unpaid for each one of them.  Over the coming weeks, I'll read professional books to help improve my teaching and prepare for my new position.  I'll attend Summer Academy classes offered by my district.  In July I have two professional development conferences in which I'll lead sessions in addition to co-hosting the #cyberPD book talk.  In August, I will attend and lead a session at ILE Ohio.  Not only will August be spent preparing for school, but I will also co-host #pb10for10.

Last week I read, "How To Stop Obsessing About Work When You're Not There," shared by a colleague.  Honestly, that's a little more complicated if you love what you do.  I look forward to the time in summer so that I can catch up on professional reads.  I look forward to the time in the summer so I can meet with colleagues to discuss learning and consider changes for the new year.  I look forward to summer so I have time to think about how to make things better.  I look forward to summer so I can spend time learning more about the ideas I want to pursue.  I look forward to summer so I can have time for professional writing and reflection.

As a teacher it's true that my summer schedule slows down a little more, but there's still much to be done during this time.  I love what I do and choose to spend much of my summer improving my craft.   How do you explain to someone a teacher's summer?  I'm not quite sure, but know it isn't all spent by poolside.



11 comments:

  1. It appears our summers (and our posts!) have been much the same, Cathy! Like you, I've worked nearly every day so far in this two weeks of summer, and like you, I wrote about a teacher's summer today. I don't have much else to say, other than that I know how you feel!!! (Maybe I can meet you in person at ILE! I'm going to the EdCamp part -- are you?)

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  2. There's such a misconception out there about teaching and summers off. I know very few teachers who loaf around all summer. Very, very few!

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  3. Well said Cathy. :) I just posted on Jennifer's blog (whose topic is similar to yours) that one of the best things about summer is that I have the time to dig deeper into PD (reading, conferences, etc). I love the flexibility of my time during the summer to explore different topics and dive into some different opportunities. Happy Summer!!

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  4. Oh, you are my people! Summer is just more time to reflect on what was and what will be. That is the gift we get, because we love what we do, right? I'm looking forward to your #cyberPD. Thanks for that!

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  5. It depends on who's asking. Some I just smile & answer, yes, it's a great time. Everyone still seems to think we have 3 months off, when in reality, like you, when all the endings are ended, & the early prep begins earlier than required, it's not even 2 months. But, also like you, Cathy, I love my job, & learning more so I can do it better the next year. Your post rings out to me very well!

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  6. Ugh...I hate this issue. Summer is jam packed with PD, all on my dime, so I tend to get angry when asked about this. But, Linda's attitude is much wiser - so Linda like to be wise and smile and just get on with it!

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  7. I never know how to respond either. So, I just say something like, "oh, I have lots of work to catch up on all summer." I don't think that perception will ever change.

    By the way, I laughed out loud at this line: I always assure them that no one could tolerate me with extra expresso. So funny!

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  8. Wishing you a balanced summer - lot of inspirational work and plenty of rest and fun.

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  9. I just had this conversation with Chris - can I be considered a workaholic when I love what I do? When my hobby is also my job? Not sure, but I'm happy with it - and some down time as well. :) Enjoy that coffee, you've earned it.

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  10. I look forward to summer for all the same reasons, and I love the flexibility of summer. I think Terje has the right idea: balance is the key. What better place to read those professional books than by the pool?

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  11. ILE Ohio sounds very interesting as is the #cyberPD. I hope you find time for relaxation in the middle of all the school related activities!

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