Oh, there is always the standard family vacation and the doing of all those chores that were not done during the school year. But, really what are teachers up to in the summer?
An informal New Jersey Press Media survey found that about 67 percent of teachers worked a second job over the summer. Another 23 percent spent time doing research for courses they will be teaching in the Fall while taking career-development classes.
We need to add one more category: rest– I imagine teachers do this while working summer jobs or preparing for the Fall. I did my own informal teacher survey and found that just like our students, teachers are tired at the end of a school year. Imagine the student’s perspective: seven hours, five days a week sitting in desks and absorbing new material, homework most, if not all nights, emotional upheavals (he loves her but she loves him, who knows how this will play out in classroom.) . Now, for the teacher’s perspective: someone is standing at the front/side/back of that classroom lecturing/guiding, grading that homework, organizing materials, and setting the tone/atmosphere of the class. Students and teachers follow this pattern from August through May. Yes, it is tiring: emotionally, physically, and mentally.
I always think of Summer Break as a time of emotional and physical unwinding. But, something else also happens in the summer during the rest, summer jobs, family travels, Fall preparations, etc…—teachers become more grounded in themselves. Possibly, it is like we see the prior year retrospectively, the 20/20 idea, and we have the time to think about and become better teachers.
Summer is here! Please be patient with your slightly insane teacher friends as they are at once trying to unwind while working summer jobs and taking career development classes. I promise that sometime by the end of July they will snap back, they will be fully coherent and they will be ready for the new school year!