Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Vacation

       Many folks dream of the perfect job schedule. One where they work nine or ten months of the year, get multiple days off during the year and get their summers off. Looking around for such a utopian way of work, they spy the teaching profession and pounce. This is it! This will let  me work, but be lazy some of the time as well. You, my friend, have a strange view of what a teacher does during the summer. Let me show you my summer plans.
        This was the first official week of vacation. I spent the first three days taking a project-based learning class (PBL) to use what I learn in the classroom next year. During this "vacation"time, I worked with colleagues/fellow teachers on their first week of vacation who were doing the same thing--working. I'm not complaining. It was an excellent class, one that challenged my thinking and gave me better insight on the project process. I'm a better teacher for having participated.
        After finishing the class, my first "real" day of vacation was Thursday. How did I spend my time? Meeting with my principal to discuss next year, reading a teen book I may want to use in my classroom, and working on developing programming for the upcoming year per my principal's request.
       To be fair, I am being paid for some of these activities. Not pay that's a true representation of the work I complete in a summer. If a CEO or doctor or lawyer created projects or worked during supposedly "down" times, would they reduce their rates of pay? I know, rabbit trail. I'll stop going down this path. Can you tell it's a bargaining year and we haven't settled?
       Next week, before an actual vacation to NYC to see my son, I will continue to work on school projects and hold meetings. Some for pay and some for no pay. Pay isn't my motivation when deciding to do something--value to my students comes first. Kids First, as it should be.I don't mind taking second fiddle to my kids. School should be about them, right?
      The rest of my summer follows a similar pattern. Mostly working, with some fun thrown into the mix. And I'm glad for the opportunities to work with others, brainstorm, work on new ideas--it's what makes me keep my focus on education and Kids First.
       Next time you're in a coffee shop in Grand Forks, look around and see if you can identify the teachers there who are working during their summer vacation. You'll be surprised!

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