I was recently having a conversation with a “gentleman” about the teaching profession and he felt very strongly that teachers were “spoiled by all the time off they get” and that “summer break for teachers is a joke”. What with all the evenings and weekends off throughout the year, all the holidays off and the time off for Christmas and Spring Break…why the heck do they also get the summer off?
He rambled on for a good five minutes at the ridiculousness that is summer break for our teachers and was adamant that they should be working all summer. They should put the time in “like real hard-working folks who actually earn their money”.
At this point, I practiced some very deep breathing. Some very, very deep breathing. Some very, very, VERY deep breathing and I began to untangle the words that had got lodged in my throat. It was time to enlighten this imbicile about what it actually takes to be a teacher.
My mother is a teacher and I have nothing but mad respect for her profession. My children are now school-aged and I see the impact good teachers have on them and the progress they’ve made this year. In my opinion, teaching is one of the most important professions out there and I, for one, applaud and bow down to every single teacher I have met.
I grew up watching my Mom bring her marking home with her and mark all evening or all weekend. I watched her go into work on the weekend to lesson plan, change desks around and decorate her room to keep the kids excited and inspired to learn. I watched my Mom agonize over “her kids” when they struggled and I watched her cry for them when that same struggling child succeeded. I watched her volunteer to coach, to tutor, to lead field trips and to take time away from her own family so other kids could have opportunities they wouldn’t have if not for my Mom.
I asked the judgmental a**hole I was talking to if he had actually been in a classroom lately. I asked if he had school-aged kids and if he volunteered at his school to watch the amazingness that is teaching. His answer was “No but…”, at which point I cut him off.
I asked if he’d chaperoned field trips that leave parents exhausted, depleted and wondering how the heck teachers manage to do that every single day. His answer was “No but…”, so I cut him off again and enlightened him because, I have.
I’ve been on many field trips this year and every time I leave I ask my kids’ teachers “HOW do you do that every day??!”. Where does their energy come from and how the heck do you manage to keep them all in line, respectful and having fun? How do you do this all day when after a 3-hour field trip I feel the need to go home, crack open the wine and have a 4-hour nap to recover?!
But I wasn’t done standing up for our teachers just yet. At this point, I decided that the fine fellow I was speaking with should also understand the impact teachers have on our children. So I carried on…
Personally, I’ve watched my son thrive this year at school and I give full credit to his grade two teacher for the progress he has made. Not only does she “get” my child’s sense of humor, she encourages it. She was the one who recommended we get him to a counselor to help him with his anxiety. She is the one he talks about and tells me the jokes she’s taught him. She’s the one who celebrated his first goal in hockey and the one he said was the proudest and excited for him (aside from us, his parents). She is the one who has taught him to read and who has taught him how to add and subtract, to share, to be kind and to be an amazing student. His teacher. Not me.
My little girl is in Kindergarten this year and once again, I’m in awe of her teacher. The energy required to wrangle 20 5-year olds is insane and every day her teacher shows up, acts silly and teaches my child the fundamentals of academia and the fundamentals of being a kind, caring, sharing person. The time and energy her Kindie teacher shows every single day boggle my mind. My child can read now because of her teacher. She can count to 100, knows her seasons, understands basic math and science concepts…and jeez…did I mention that she can READ?! She has become a leader and she is confident and strong because her teacher has seen her gifts and fostered those traits.
I couldn’t stress enough the importance of respecting and applauding teachers. They sacrifice a lot, the give even more and they help mold our children’s future. They give and they give and they give and at the end of the year, they’re freakin’ tired.
So, do they deserve a summer break? No…they don’t.
They deserve a Summer Holiday. Breaks are too short and don’t encourage a lot of rest. But holidays…where we encourage our teachers to rest, recharge and take the time to appreciate the greatness they are? Yeah…they deserve a freakin’ holiday, a long 2-month holiday.
But, kind Sir, did you know that many teachers have to actually find work in the summer? Why? Because most teachers DON’T GET PAID over the summer. So, this break you are so vehemently against is no break at all! They deserve restful time off, ya wanker, a real holiday. A holiday to re-energize and refuel so they’re ready to give it their all again in September. Because they do. They give it their all every day that have access to my child.
So, to all the teachers out there making a difference. You have my respect and all of my support to rest, recharge and HOLIDAY. I hope you can take these two months to holiday and run with it (or laze in a hammock, whatever is best for you to fill your tank). No break for you…you deserve a two-month, glorious, happy, restful, lazy dazy holiday.