English teachers in Taiwan, like me, usually get a month-long summer break. We use summer break to go back to our home countries to: see family, visit friends, and have fun. While there’s lots of summer break activities my fellow educators and I enjoy, there are five that particularly stand out.
In Taiwan we are expected to act like professional educators. Back in USA, the expectations are so high. Summer break is a time for: drinking, partying, making dirty jokes, and engaging in not-quite-legal activities. On the outside, it may seem like I eat, breath and sleep education, but during summer break, acting unprofessional is an important activity in itself.
Turns out that many English teachers in Taiwan come from west coast USA. So many of us plan to meet up. Summer break is a good chance for us educators to get together and compare our homes to Taiwan. There are phrases, jokes and experiences that nobody else, not having taught in Taiwan, would understand. I find that only teachers understand other teachers.
Since all of Taiwan, with the exception of the sparsely-populated east coast, lacks clean lakes, beaches or rivers, many teachers who return home will spend summer break: swimming, surfing, fishing, jet-skiing, wakeboarding, diving, and otherwise playing in the water. I plan to do all of these, and more.
While there are many experiences and activities that are exclusively found abroad, others only exist back home. Many teachers who choose to return home for summer break will pursue a favorite, and dearly missed activity. For me, that activity is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I want to get as much training in as possible during summer break, and maybe get a new belt.
But what English teachers like me do during summer break, more than anything else, is make jokes at the expense of students and their parents. Of course, I can’t walk up to little Eric’s mom and ask her why she doesn’t beat her son more often. I certainly can’t suggest she raise her child herself instead of dumping the responsibility on his teachers. But I can joke at her expense, and even include her in an article to tell the world what an irresponsible parent she is!
For those of you who thought that we teachers spend summer: preparing lesson plans, attending teaching seminars, and wondering how are students are doing, I’ll let you in on a secret. We are just as glad to have them gone for summer break, as you are annoyed to have them back in the house! I’ll see you all in September, when you pass the baton back to me.