The Way Some Burned-In Teachers Think About Summer Is Broken
Go Ahead, Work All Summer... I'll Be Over Here, Enjoying Life.
Today's question comes from Melanie, a fourth grade teacher from Idaho. She writes:
"I've been teaching for 11 years and I am so burned out by all of the changes that seem to happen in my corporation each year. One year, they change our curriculum maps all around, the next year maybe I get moved a grade level, one year we went 1-to-1 with technology. I know that during summer break I should be relaxing and recharging, but there seems to be something that comes up to rock my world each year. I spend each summer working in my classroom getting ready for the 'next big thing' that is coming. Am I wrong? Should I not go into school?"
Since, I am on summer break, I am going to make this short and sweet, Melanie. Yes, you are wrong and no, you should not be in that building. Don't even go near it.
Now, before some of you start chasing me with pitchforks and torches while telling me I am the worst teacher in the world, let me explain my answers a little bit.
1. What I mean by 'wrong' is 'misinformed'.
Listen, we will all naturally think about school over the summer. I mean, it's our JOB to plan ahead and for the most part, we know what we will be getting ourselves into in the fall. However, if you are like me at all, you know that sometimes there is a difference between 'this is happening in August' and what REALLY happens in August. Things don't always go as planned and I would be in a hole in the ground had I spent all summer preparing for things at my old corporation that I was told 'were happening' and NEVER DID.
If things are really coming down the pipe in August, your administration should be working on the details over the summer to help you succeed. Not you. Don't do their job for them. They are contracted more days than you for a reason.
2. What I mean by 'you should not be in that building' is exactly what I said. Stay away. Far away.
I want you to think of school in the summer as a family member or friend that you rarely see. Isn't it so much sweeter when you get to see your favorite cousin or long, lost roomy from college after an extended period of time? Trust me on this, you will be so much more excited to go back and kick butt if you wait at least 5 weeks. Do it. Walk away and don't look back for a month. Your students won't notice the difference and you can focus on YOU. As my principal always tell me, "BREATH."