If you are an educator, fill in the blank. Did your excitement (or sense of relief) build during the last few weeks, months, or during the fall? Are you planning on getting some much needed rest? How about taking classes? Are you involved in a graduate or certificate program, and you’re taking classes this summer? Have you planned an out-of-town trip to visit family or friends? How about a trip to just get away?
I am convinced the general public (and especially politicians) don’t have even a partial understanding of what teachers/educators engage in throughout an academic year to bring quality education from children to adults throughout these United States. People often say, “You’re lucky. You get the whole summer off.” Let me tell what that really means.
You’ve given the same instructions incessantly…for 10 consecutive months. “Take the gum out. Stop talking. Put your name on the paper when you first receive it.” Get it? There are teachers across this country who are looking forward to only saying something one time, and being heard. Trust me, having to repeat ourselves daily is an all-too familiar reality. Some of us will end the day over the summer, and NOT be hoarse.
There are some of us who will start a task today, and will make significant progress toward completing it…today. I know that seems a little odd, but when you have a couple of hundred papers to grade every other week (because of course, you have to document student progress), it’s a never-ending job. Never-ending, that is, until the summer.
Since society in general thinks most of us fell off the turnip truck only yesterday, some of us will be involved in structured learning of some kind. Master degree programs, doctoral programs, additional certification programs, and other forms of brain stretching activities. Most of these programs will broaden educators’ knowledge base, and thus enable greater student learning. How many non-teachers can boast that?
As soon as I can wrap-up some family business, I too look forward to a summer break; some time to reflect, purge junk, and decide how I want my world to be. Let’s see, do I really need all those papers I brought home from school for next year? Really?
Kimberly F. Carlos, Ed.D.