I know that based on the title of this post you might be thinking a few things about teachers and our summer vacation:
1) Teachers are SO lucky to get their entire summer off!
2) That [insert mean word of choice]! It's not fair that she has a whole summer off.
3) I'm so jealous. I wish I could have a summer off.
4) Teachers don't deserve to have all of that time off.
Maybe you aren't thinking any of those. But still, we teachers often take a lot of flak for the blessing that we call June, July, and August.
Maybe I can help to clear up some misconceptions about teachers and summer vacation. (Or at least, what summer vacation is like for me.)
On summer vacation, I...
...get to sleep in more often. I am not a morning person. Getting up at 6:00 A.M. (sometimes earlier) is NOT my idea of a good time. Being able to sleep until at least 7 makes my life outlook much sunnier (literally AND figuratively).
...do more manual labor. I can actually keep up with the house work: laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. That I use my job as an excuse to avoid 9 months out of the year. :-p Also, we are working on our house (mostly outside right now to prep for new siding) so I am often up early (see above) helping Scott outside. I also am often responsible for mowing the lawn since Scott is usually busy working. Having to cut the grass makes me feel irrationally irritated because I absolutely HATE it.
...recuperate from the school year. No, teaching is not a physically demanding job. But if you aren't a teacher (or if you don't work in the school system in some capacity), you may not fully understand the demands placed upon teachers today. (You may want to look back at my past posts about teaching.) But between lesson planning and actual teaching, there are many other things I am responsible for during the school day/year. Not to mention that teaching takes an emotional toll on you. When you care about your students, you worry about them. It comes with the territory.
...obsess about the coming school year. I love, love, love getting ready for the upcoming school year. I love getting my classroom ready, buying school supplies, and making plans for how I'm going to approach teaching during the coming year. I am always trying to better myself and to make things work better for my students. I want to do my best to help them learn the most during the school year. That takes time and planning. Ideas pop into my head at random times, and it often leads me to have back to school nightmares. Lately, though, my school nightmares have all been featuring people and students that I encountered during the school year that just ended, so I'm not having the "new year" nightmares yet.
...have more time to spend with my husband, family, and friends. It's so nice to have more freedom (aka time) to make plans to do things with people I care about. I don't feel like hiding in my house avoiding the world because I'm so exhausted.
...complete projects that I've been putting off until now. I always have crafting ideas or things I want to organize, donate, sell, etc. Summer time gives me the time to do all of this! I just listed about 20 books/textbooks on Amazon recently. It's so nice to have the time to package them and drop them off at the post office THE DAY that someone buys them, rather than having to wait until I have time.
...can read more!! I try to devour as many books during June, July, and August as I can because it's so much harder to find time to read during the school year.
...RELAX. I'm not one of those people who struggles with relaxing and doing nothing....even during the school year. But summer break gives me time to get things done AND relax without feeling guilty about it.
So yes, summer break is a definite perk of being a teacher. Many people criticize us for this, but keep in mind that many teachers DO work other jobs during the summer simply because they couldn't make ends meet without doing so. Some teachers get the joy of spending their time off with their kids! I truly couldn't "do" teaching year-round. I love it, but it's stressful and exhausting at times. Summer is my time to rest, rejuvenate, and become refreshed for the school year ahead.
Teachers, what do YOU do on your summer vacation?
Non-teachers, what would YOU do if you had the whole summer off?