Monday, May 31, 2010

No Apologies

It's that time of year again -- the time when people razz me about getting to lay around and do nothing all summer and get paid for it. I hear it from people I know who are kidding, and I hear it in the media from total strangers who have never worked in the field of education but think they know everything about it because they've been to school themselves. Well, I am here to tell you I refuse to apologize for having a summer vacation that I have earned and really isn't much of a vacation at all.

I say I have earned this vacation because I worked hard for the past 180 days with the kids in my classroom. I have taught and re-taught. I have created lesson plans, assignments, and assessments of various types. I have contacted parents. I have disciplined students. I have coached kids in track. I have graded papers and tests and quizzes. I have listened to and evaluated speeches and presentations. I have attended team, department, staff, building-level technology, district-level technology, leadership, school improvement, and anti-bullying committee meetings. I created and presented Internet safety presentations for students and parents. I prepared my students for standardized tests. Just to name a few things. How I wish I could say I accomplished all those things in my seven hours in the classroom each day, but much more often than not, like most teachers, those activities went way beyond my classroom time. I did a lot of hard work this school year; I deserve my summer vacation.

Which leads me to explain that it's really not much of a vacation. I am taking one planned trip this summer. The rest of the summer will be spent focusing on three things: helping a colleague prepare to take over teaching computers next year (as well as her sub when my colleague goes on maternity leave); writing curriculum for the high school prep/transition class I am taking over next school year; and starting my course work for my ESL endorsement. So no one should be fooled into thinking I will spend the next three months sitting around and forgetting all about school. Summer is when I look forward to doing school work unencumbered by school. I can work at my own pace and uninterrupted. I can work at home or the library or on my patio. I will spend my summer working -- just not in a classroom with students. I'm not abnormal; this is what most teachers do.

So feel free to tease me about enjoying my summer vacation. I will. Because I enjoy what I do and I'm working on it all summer. And I deserve every reward I get from teaching -- monetary or not.

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