Saturday, May 9, 2015

Summer vacation... myth or reality?

It's the end of the school year for many educators. After a long hard year, the school year is either almost done or will be finished soon.

And with this approaching end, so it begins...

It seems they start earlier every single year, but as the school year approaches its end, the Facebook posts and the tweets celebrating the end of the school year are in full effect.

Things like this are appearing on Facebook walls and Twitter feeds almost daily...

'I now have time to do everything I haven't had time to do during the school year.'

'No more alarm clock for me for the next few months.'

'Every day is a weekend day now during summer vacation.'

'No more grading, parent phone calls, and lesson plans until next year.'

'Finally, time to relax and time to kick my feet up and enjoy the pool and enjoy the summer.'

Now, here's the deal, I know teachers work extremely hard during the school year. I was a teacher once, so I know what it is like. There are long days and long nights and the level of appreciation for what teachers do isn't always on par with the work.

There are also many teachers who work summer school, work on curriculum writing, and/or participate in some form of professional development during the summer months. Though this doesn't consume the entire summer, the reality is, there are many teachers who work on education related tasks during the summer.

Teachers as a whole are a hard working group of people just like most other adults who go to work to support their families and their lives.

However... I wonder how the general public, who doesn't work in education, perceives these Facebook posts and tweets?

I wonder how the average adult who doesn't work in education feels knowing they still have to go to work all summer?

I wonder...

Having said that, we educators play a significant role in how the public views who we are and what we do. The image we paint and the image we portray and share with others can either benefit education as a whole or perpetuate the 'summer vacation' perception.

Just wondering... but should we tone it down a bit when it comes to 'summer vacation' and be a little more cautious in how we celebrate the end of a long year?

Or, should teachers simply admit that having time off in the summer is a perk of the job? Is there anything wrong with saying that time off in the summer is a perk? Many jobs and professions have perks, so why should education be any different?

In closing, I remember what it was like to be a teacher during the summer. Sure, were there things that I did to prepare for the next school year, absolutely! Did I take classes toward my Masters and Doctorate (which led to automatic salary increases), of course I did! Did I sleep in some mornings and did I stay up late some nights without having to worry about work, yes, lots of times! I worked, but I also enjoyed a much slower pace that allowed me to relax, recharge and rebalance myself.

So... how should we be approaching this 'summer vacation' perception?