I have no concept of time right now. The last two months have gone by faster than any previous two months of my life, and my head is spinning as I try to figure out what I did with my ‘summer.’ – you know, summer, that coveted perk that everyone envies teachers for. Now, I don’t want to make any grand policy-related statements here, but I just have to throw this out there. Most teachers don’t plant their asses on a beach for three months straight, sipping margaritas and devouring satisfying literature, as is commonly thought among the non-teaching population. I’m sure some teachers do, and I’m as jealous of them as you are.
But then there are the rest of us—those of us New Yorkers who had school until June 28th, thereby immediately trimming our summer down to a lean 2 months. Then I attended three full-time weeks of unpaid trainings, peppered throughout those two precious months, per my principal’s extremely strong suggestions (slash orders), leaving one broken up month worth of time remaining. Did I mention that I was taking two online grad classes July 14th-August 23rd? Pffff!!! Online courses. Cake, right? HA! Yeah, they fooled me too, but those heartless bastards assigned ~200 pages of reading/week with papers and responses to classmates’ papers due every week. I wrote well over 100 pages worth of papers this summer, so that shaved off a nice chunk of time as well. Then I received word that, despite the illegality of it, my principal announced that we are all required to come to school before our contracted start date to set up our classrooms on our own time. He informed us that we would not be given time during the two days before the students’ arrival because he has staff development planned for us. So that’s another unpaid yet required work week for setting up my room. (Side note: On my first day to my school to set up my classroom, some jackass in the subway station decided he needed my phone more than I did and stole it out of my hands and ran with it. It was a nice welcome to the neighborhood.) Add in the summer planning meetings I had with other teachers and the time spent creating materials for my classroom and curriculum, and you’re down to just a handful of actual, responsibility-free ‘summer’ days.
As I said, I’m not making any grand statements about teacher pay here because there certainly are a number of teachers out there who truly do soak up a long, restful vacation in the sun. All I’m aiming for in this post is to open the eyes of a few “teachers have it easy”- sayers out there. Some of us work our asses off year-round and see less money than the custodians who don’t help us move furniture or clean out our mouse-infested classrooms come late August. So stop envying us! Some of us chose this line of work because we love our students and would do anything for them, not for the great benefits and sweet vacation time. So do me a favor and next time you hear someone say, “Man, teachers have it so easy,” punch them in the face. Tell them that the good teachers don’t leave school every day at 3pm and don’t have vast stretches of any real vacation.
Hehe… this was such a stupid, self-wallowing, soapbox post. My apologies. I just really can’t believe school is starting tomorrow- on my birthday(!) before I felt like my summer even began. But it’s time to suck it up, stop feeling sorry for myself, and shape some young minds. :)