To the Teacher:
More than likely, you are – what we call in the profession – BURNED OUT right about now. Listen, I get it. In fact, I’d be a little worried about you if you weren’t at least a little bit ready for a break this time of year… If you are a first year teacher, you are probably feeling a mix of pride/accomplishment (YOU MADE IT!!) and complete panic wondering how you will ever survive another 20+ years of this… Trust me, we’ve all been there. If you are a veteran of the classroom, you know that it does – in fact – get easier (at least a little). You also know that one of the keys to survival for teachers is SUMMER BREAK…
Now, to the Rest of the World:
About right now, you pretty much hate teachers. You are sick of seeing us post countdowns to the last day of school on Facebook and complain about how exhausted we are and how much we NEED summer break. Listen, I get that too. I happen to be married to a non-teacher. 😉 On behalf of all of us, allow me to apologize for how totally unbearable most of us are right now…. BUT, if you don’t mind, please allow me to also clear up a few common misconceptions about this break that lies before us…
Summer Break is the reason all teachers go into that profession.
HaHaHaHa! OK, I think most teachers would tell you that summers off is a HUGE perk to their job. In fact, some might even admit that it had at least a little something to do with their choosing that career path in the first place (I don’t judge), but anyone who has ever pulled an all-nighter to finish grading research papers before interim, had a student call you a ‘B word,’ or proctored a five hour standardized test for twenty 15 year olds KNOWS that summer break doesn’t keep you in this field. Teaching requires you to be “ON” for ten months out of the year. We work really really hard. We NEED these breaks. Our physical and mental health DEPEND on it. (One summer early in my career I taught summer school, and it nearly killed me. #fastestroadtoquitting). Summer break is a perk, definitely, but so are one-hour lunch breaks and a clearly-defined end-of-day. Let’s all just get along, ok?
Teachers spend their summers sleeping until noon & relaxing by the pool.
Ok, this might be true for some teachers (lucky dogs), but it isn’t true for the vast majority of us. Since I started teaching seven years ago, I have had some kind of job every.single.summer. I have worked in retail, I’ve babysat, I’ve done independent contracting for the private sector, and I’ve taught online classes. In addition to that, we don’t pay a babysitter in the summer, so I am also a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Again, I’m not complaining – I love that I get the opportunity to do that for a short period every year – but I’m also not twiddling my thumbs from June thru August. (Although, to be fair, I do get to do a lot of relaxing… Look, I KNOW I have a great job.)
Teachers get THREE FULL MONTHS OFF.
My last day of school is June 6th. I go back to work on August 18th. Trust me, I’m not complaining, but by my calculations that’s only about 2.5 months. 😉
Teachers don’t get paid during the summers.
Ok, I’m kind-of turning on my colleagues here, but this is one of my pet peeves… It’s true, we don’t get a physical paycheck during the summer months (at least not in my school district), but we do make a YEARLY SALARY. Yes, having that salary spread among ten months instead of twelve can require some extra planning/saving for July and August, BUT plenty of people live off of a lot less than our salary. No, we don’t make a lot of money. Yes, when you break down all the hours you spend working in and out of the classroom (not to mention the standard “babysitting” fee for 25 kids eight hours a day), we are probably underpaid, but so are nurses, social workers, truck drivers, secretaries (etc., etc., etc.), but they DON’T get 2.5 months off a year. Think about it. I’ll get off my soapbox now, but – really – try not to complain about not getting paid in the summer… It gives us a bad rap. 🙂
So, what did I forget? What other myths need some clearing up? Do you agree with the above?