Thursday, July 07, 2005

What is this thing we call summer?

We all know teachers don't really get the summers off. First of all, we're not even paid. It's more like a forced 2 month lay-off. Secondly, we all end up doing other things. I had the AP workshop in June and then later this month I will start a two week class as part of a Department of Ed. grant program. I at least get paid for that.

In between those professional development opportunities, I do have some time to myself. The question is what to do with it. I'm wondering if any other teachers out there that feel the way I do. The way I see it, there are two ways of looking at summer vacation:

1. Try to get as much preparation for next school year done so that the year isn't quite so stressful. (Especially tempting since I am teaching a new course next year.)

2. Accept that no matter what you do, the school year is stressful. That's just the way teaching is. So, take two months to debrief, exhale, and try not to start the school year already burned out. You're not getting paid anyway!

At the beginning of the summer, I was definitely going with option 1. I planned out a schedule of what units I wanted to plan during each week and then promised myself I would stick to it even if I had to work nights and weekends. Now, I'm headed towards number 2. I'm feeling more like I should spend a few hours every day reading something that deals with the subject matter and then release myself to knitting, reading fiction, and shopping. I have several day trips I would like to make with friends or the dh and this is possibly our last summer in this area since dh is finishing up the dissertation. Why not take advantage of it?

Any of you fellow teachers have encouragement or admonitions? (Or non-teachers for that matter. What would YOU do if you had the summers "off"?)

UPDATE: Both posthipchick and Ms. Frizzle have posted recently about their summer schedules. It seems like I should find the balance between #1 and #2, but I have a little trouble. When I'm working, I wish I was playing and when I'm playing, I worry I should be working.