With state testing finally complete, educators everywhere are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief and begin getting ready to wrap up the school year. And just beyond the end of the school year – summer break! My to-do list continues to grow daily.
Summer break for educators is a great benefit of the job. But, the perception that people get into education for the three-month vacation is a myth. (Our summer break begins the second week of June and we will go back to work the first of August.) And, of course, there is still work to be done while school is not officially in session.
Curriculum Reviewing: Each year, the school district adopts new curricula and offers time for the teachers to come in and receive training in order be able to implement the new curricula the following school year. I’ll be attending several days’ worth of this professional development during my summer break. The school district does offer compensation outside of the teacher contracts for attending this training at the rate of $150 a day; after taxes and mandatory retirement contributions, I’m left with about $86. Of course, I’ll also have to pay for daycare for my two children out of that ($57 a day for our family), so there isn’t a whole lot left at the end of the day.
Curriculum Writing: On top of the training for new curricula, my department is going to be preparing to rewrite our curriculum over the course of the next school year. We won’t have time to do all of it once school is in session, so summer break is when most of the work will have to happen.
Planning: Of course, once I’ve been trained in the new curricula, it will be up to me to take it home and begin preparing for the new school year. Summer break for educators involves a lot of preparation in order to be ready when the first day of school rolls around. Personally, I end up doing extensive lesson planning and development overall because I work with gifted students and there is no teacher’s manual for the types of activities that my students require.
Doctor’s Appointments: I always schedule all of my routine doctor’s appointments during the summer. Having time over summer break to take care of these types of things is the trade-off for not having vacation days or a flexible schedule during the school year that allows me to do them the rest of the year.
The Fun Stuff: Of course, it would be unrealistic to act as though my entire summer break will be spent holed up at home, working away. I plan on spending time with my kids at the pool, going to the zoo, and on our backyard swing set. We may even pack the kids up and go on a camping trip towards the end of July. Now, if I could just get my kids to sleep in past 6:30 a.m., that would be a REAL summer break!