Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Vacation: Time for Relaxation, Work, or a Bit of Both?

Well it's been almost two full weeks of summer vacation so far, and hopefully most of you are done or at least wrapping up the year now, too.

I have spent my summer vacation thus far with a variety of activities: two work meetings, house projects, hiking as much as I can, spending time with my dog and planning my husband's 30th birthday party, which is Saturday.

I know some teachers who spend their entire summer (almost) doing work-related things and/or prepping for the next school year. I have never been one of those people.

Two summers, I did do our credit recovery/summer school program for the month of June to earn some extra money. There are also sometimes committee meetings or department meetings I have to attend. But I really try hard to make my summer as relaxing as possible.

It's always a frustrating time of year to be a teacher, I think. There are a lot of negative feelings from the public about teachers getting summers off. But on the other side of that coin, I think *some* teachers try to be martyrs about the summer thing, too, and boast about how their summer isn't really time off because all they do all summer long is work anyway.

So frankly, both sides of this issue annoy me. Here is how I typically address anyone in the first camp that are upset about teachers getting summers off:

You want summers off too? Go back to school and earn a teaching degree. Then you, too, can have summers off.

Having 2.5 months off every year is a perk of teaching. Most jobs have perks. For some corporate jobs, that may be use of a luxury company car, fancy parties, dinners out, year-end bonuses in the five figures or the ability to work from home all or part-time. Teaching does not have those perks, but we do get ample vacation time. Going into your career, you knew this would not be a perk of your job and were obviously OK with it if you followed that career choice. It is not my fault you did not choose the job that has summers off as a job perk.

To the teacher martyrs I say: Give it a rest. It is OK if you DON'T spend the entire summer working. Relax. Enjoy yourself. Spend some time with family and friends doing fun things. If working and prepping for next year make you happy and less stressed, great. But your argument will fall on deaf ears anyway, so don't do it to try and prove a point to people. 

I enjoy my summer guilt-free. I start prepping for work in early August and do attend a few work meetings if I have to, but I have every intention of relaxing, doing things I don't have time for from Sept-May and kicking up my feet. I don't feel one iota of guilt about that and neither should you.

So how do you typically spend your summers?

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