Dear readers (if you were ever out there)... I'm back.
I realize it's been over a week since I posted something, but I've been on vacation. As in, my summer vacation-- that reprieve that teachers get, much to the brooding, sometimes snarling resentment of the rest of the adult population (i.e. those with normal jobs).
In many ways, I get where this resentment is coming from. After all, we technically do not have to work at all during the summer (even though I do). This is in addition to the week vacations in December, February (if you work in New England), and April. So, yeah, for the shlubs who "suffer fifty weeks a year for the sake of a two week vacation" (to quote Biff Loman from Death of a Salesman), just knowing that teachers get all that time off might sting a little.
But don't resent teachers for their summer vacations, if only for two reasons:
(1) It's not as if this "summer off" phenomenon should come as a shock to you. You went to school yourself, right? You knew the deal with the summer vacations, right?
Some jobs are sort of secretive-- the ice cream scientist, say, or the mini-golf architect. And when you hear about them, you might think, "Hey, that's a cool job. Why didn't I ever know about that?" Well, suffice to say, teaching is not mini-golf architecture. It's not a secret profession. In fact, it's actually of the few jobs that everyone knows about.
You knew we got the time off. Not only that, you could have become a teacher yourself. If you regret your chosen career, that's OK. But don't resent me.
(2) You think we didn't earn this time off? Name another job that requires that you run five meetings every single day-- and that's not even the half of it. I don't know any teachers who leave their jobs at their job. Instead, they work into the night, into the weekends. Sometimes, teachers have so much work that they actually have to take a sick day in order to stay home and get work done. It's twisted, but it happens.
Teaching is, to put it lightly, an impossibly demanding job. I think we earned our time off, to re-charge our batteries.
Reminds me of a joke:
Q: "What are the three best things about being a teacher?"
A: "June, July, and August."
OK, I don't believe that. I'd count working with students and affecting the future and using your mind as the top three. But June, July, and August are definitely in the top seven.
Besides, this isn't some crazy plan teachers negotiated. Schools have been closed during the summer since-- well, I don't know, but a long time. We're just playing by the rules we've been given. You can resent the game all you want-- but keep the players out of it.