One of the biggest preconceived notions about teaching is that teachers have the summers off. While the academic calendar does provide a two and a half month hiatus from the classroom, teachers and educational leaders alike are more than likely to spend a majority of their vacation preparing for their next group of students. Yes, there will be a few weeks where educators will take advantage of their break to rest-up and recharge their batteries. But like any normal personal within the working world, that type of break is normal. To simply think that they are just off is not just wrong, but also downright ridiculous.
For most teachers, they are paid contractually where the payment plan is broken down into two options: 1. Nine-month increments or 2. Twelve-month increments. For those who consent the first option, those last two and a half months means that they are not getting paid. This period of unemployment limbo forces many educators to pick up a second job either in the field of education or outside of it.
In addition to working, many educators are preparing themselves for various graduate school programs. While some do take classes during the year, many teachers will take advantage of their time off to take a bulk load of their course work over the summer so that they can ease their schedule before school starts. These types of programs require a myriad of work, numerous papers, and countless research. But, in order for them to grow and develop within their field, especially for those who are looking to rise within the rankings to administration, teachers will sacrifice their downtime during their break to finish their graduate school academic requirements.
Furthermore, while the academic year maybe over for the summer, it does not mean lesson planning is finished. Many teachers take advantage of this time to design well thought out and strategic lesson plans for the upcoming year so that they are better prepared for their new set of kids. This requires countless self-reflections and revision and editing of older lesson plans that they can leverage for next year. As for student data, a majority of the results for the end of the year state testing will come out during this time. This student data will give teachers and schools the ability to analyze their results and evaluate their effectiveness within the classroom.
Lastly, the last few weeks of vacation are always an awakening for teachers. This is where many teachers find out the type of classes and students they will be teaching for the up and coming year. Depending on a teacher’s overall experience, the results may not be a shocker. But for many novice educators, their new assignments are seen as an opportunity to grow and learn within the field. During the course of these last few weeks, many teachers will enroll themselves within various professional development courses. These courses will provide educators with the options to learn the newest educational pedagogies, various teacher tactics, and other helpful tips in order for them to be efficient and effective within the classroom.
So while you may think teachers are enjoying the summer days traveling off to Europe or lounging by the pool, think again. It is time we start giving teachers the respect they deserve for the work they do both during the academic year and during the summer break.