Monday, July 31, 2017

What Teachers REALLY Do During Their Summers “Off” by Janice Little Strauss

As teachers, we’ve all been on the receiving end of comments like, “Must be nice to get your summers off”, and “Cushy job, working only 10 months per year”. It is nice to have a quick and snappy comeback like, “Well, there are a lot of openings right now, get certified and you, too, can be a teacher.” But the real answer is a lot more complicated than that, of course. So I asked a few teacher friends what they do during their unpaid summer. Following is a list of activities the five of us have done, sometimes many times over, during our time “off”. Imagine if we had asked some of you – the list would be nearly endless! Perhaps you’d like to add a few of your own accomplishments to our list. Then you could print out the list, keep it in your wallet, and the next time someone says, “Gee, I wish I had the summer off like you teachers!” You can say, “Yes, that time “off” allows my colleagues and me to accomplish the following:
1. Do inventory of books, materials, supplies and equipment
2. Submit work orders for classroom needs, equipment repair, software upgrades, etc.
3. Pack up everything in my classroom so the custodians can work
4. Put it all out again before school starts
5. Shop for supplies with my own money
6. Go into school to decorate my room
7. Take in-service classes
8. Teach in-service classes
9. Take college courses
10. Attend 4-week long immersion workshops (Foreign Language teachers)
11. Work on National Board Certification
12. Attend education conferences
13. Plan education conferences
14. Write curriculum
15. Research and create new classroom activities, projects and teaching aids
16. Develop rubrics for extended projects and short term projects
17. Attend school board meetings to get the curriculum approved
18. Attend school board meetings to promote our program
19. Travel to other campuses to plan field trips for the year
20. Meet with businessmen and visit industrial sites to plan trips
21. Visit historical sites and museums
22. Reflect on previous year’s lesson plans to analyze what worked and what did not
23. Re-work old lessons to modernize and update them
24. Read research, opinion articles and subject-related journals to be able to update materials.
25. Read current books on education
26. Write educational articles for professional publication and/or opinion articles for the local newspaper
27. Meet with teacher center directors and boards to plan for teacher and student needs
28. Visit local teacher center to use die cuts, poster printer, laminator and other equipment for making classroom supplies
29. Meet with newly hired teachers to help them get ready for the school year
30. Meet with new student teachers and help them with plans
31. Meet with my department to discuss needed changes and improvements
32. Network with other educators via blogs and other media
33. Make contacts to invite and schedule experts to visit the classroom where appropriate
34. Sort and revamp my files
35. Search for possible guest speakers for my classes
36. Go into school to run off papers for the fall
37. Search the internet for the latest educational programs
38. Spend many hours on the computer to learn the programs
39. Write grants to secure funding for classroom technology and other eligible expenses
40. Consult with others in the profession to see what is happening in other schools and even in other nations
41. Collect "authentic realia" while traveling in foreign countries (Those pesky Foreign Language teachers again! )
42. Visiting the supermarket to beg for the Italian foods display when it is taken down, so it can be brought into the classroom to add some atmosphere (Guess what that person teaches)
43. Go to the state capitol to write test questions
44. Go to the state capitol for State Ed meetings
45. Visit my legislators to advocate for education programs
46. Run summer camps for students
47. Work at a job that strengthens real world understanding & connections
48. Volunteer to work in the community to benefit children
49. Attend local events that support students and allow chats with parents
50. Coach (fall sports begin practice in early August)
51. Renew Red Cross/First Aid/CPR certification that is mandatory for coaching
52. Work a summer job to supplement teachers' low salary
53. Take care of everything not possible to do during school year such as doctor, dentist, financial adviser, podiatrist, attorney, eyeglasses, jury duty, and elective surgeries
54. Go into school to create initial and quarterly tests & other education reform requirements! 
This is the point at which you can now add activities unique to your grade level or discipline --- or any that we didn’t think of during our e-mail brainstorm. Then in a nice, friendly voice, you can tell the commenters how grateful we all are to have our unpaid summers “off” so we can get a few things done!

1 comment:

  1. I do a few of these including summer work and PD. Always looking to improve.