Thursday, June 5, 2008

School's out for the Summer

Readers' note: This entry is soaked in sarcasm and could come across as's not.

Now that school is out for the summer, I'm getting the usual question "What do you do all summer?" This question is usually said with remarkable disdain that someone may take a three month long vacation whilst others work their tail ends off.

My summer routine is usually really mundane. I get up around nine or ten, stumble into the kitchen and fix myself a tropical drink, eat lunch, take a nap, go to the mall, and watch cable until 2 AM.

REALLY, that's NOT what I do. I think that people ask this question out of genuine curiosity but their assumptions are generally misguided. They think that teachers enjoy a 3 month long hiatus after working from "eight to three" each day during the school year and soaking up government holidays and snow days. My new answer to this question is, most teachers do what other office-type people do all year round. Here is my top ten list of what I do during the summer.

10. Check email Many public schools block websites or frown upon teachers checking their personal email accounts or doing personal business from school. I spend the summer responding to email in "real time" (like a 24 hour return rate) rather than having to wait until after 5 to write back to people.

9. Restore my bodily functions to healthy intervals My trips to the restroom are like trying to run the wrong way through the flow of traffic in the mall to make it to a "onner" (it's only one stall) only to find out someone beat me to the tinkle. Change the mall traffic to a swarm of disgruntled teenagers and you'll understand why I'm very strict about my liquids intake during the school year.

8. Detox I know I made a joke about drinking up there somewhere. I'm talking about caffeine here. While I'm careful I don't drink too much before my fifty minute break, I do drink "a few" cups of coffee each day. I usually try to kick the habit once the summer starts.

7. Personal maintenance It's difficult to schedule appointments in the middle of a school day unless the office is close to school. Your liable to find your substitute gagged and tortured in the corner of your room when you return. Various and sundry appointments (dental, vision, doctor, etc.) get scheduled during the summer.

6. Go on a vacation EVERYONE is trying to travel during Winter, Spring, and Summer breaks making travelling during these high demand seasons a little more expensive. The summer time is a great time to get away but it would be nice to take off some time during the great white depression of February.

5. Make money Most teachers supplement their income by working during the summer. I'll teach a summer class at a local university.

4. Go out to lunch This is kind of like trying to go the the restroom. Since our lunch is only twenty-five and half minutes long, I relish the summer time when I can go out to lunch and see friends during the week.

3. Read for fun

2. Forget the cares of the world Often public schools are blamed for the rising rates including crime, drop outs, teen pregnancy, etc. I like to take the summer to think about things like 'what should I wear with my hot pink flip flops?' and other shallow things like that.

1. Plan for next year Teachers are constantly thinking about how their curriculum could be written to better meet the needs of their students. I'll spend my summer test "driving" new books, rewriting syllabi, and reflecting on the previous year of teacher. I think most teachers do.