It’s summertime and, as a teacher, that means I am home with my two boys for the next two-and-a-half months. Most people assume this means I have oodles of free time to just sit and kick it on my back deck with a book.
While I do have more time now than I did when my days were 7:30am-5:00pm, I still have a lot of “teacherly” things going on.
Our School Improvement Team (what most people call Department heads) works throughout the summer. Even though I am not on the SI Team, I still have to check my emails for any meetings or “calls to duty” that may happen throughout the summer. We get trained on new things, come in to collaborate with our peers, get our rooms and lessons ready for the new school year, and so on.
One thing I will have to work on this summer is prepping for a new class…actually TWO new classes. For the past five years I have been teaching a combination of the following: Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and/or English 11 (Eleventh Grade English aka American Literature). A couple of weeks ago I found out I will no longer be teaching foreign language, but be full-time in the English department again teaching English 11, but also English 12 (Twelve Grade English aka Brit Lit) and Mass Media. Since I have spent more than a decade immersed in all things American Literature (not to mention all the Spanish culture/lit stuff), brushing up on British (and world) Lit will feel pretty new to me.
That means this summer I will be choosing novels and plays to teach, working our the grammar and writing skills I will be teaching, and prepping a curriculum I am unfamiliar with. And that is just for English 12. Mass Media is completely foreign territory for me, and I will have to be reviewing my materials and plotting our that 18-week course as well.
This summer I also have to take a couple of classes to accumulate the required credits I will need to renew my teaching certificate in a few years. I don’t want to wait and do all of them at once, so I am spreading them out over the next year. This summer I will be taking two classes: one in teaching reading and one in teaching writing.
On top of all that, I still have two kids under four years old at home with me this summer.
It’s not like I have long days of nothing stretched out in front of me to get all this work done. I have to arrange childcare if I need to actually go in to work and I need to juggle doing my reading/homework during nap or after bedtime.
Even with those things, I still have my other normal writing deadlines to meet.
And since I am a teacher who has a 4-year old who wants to learn to read, I have one more challenge on my plate: a daily “school session” with my oldest.
During most of my days, I am playing or organizing playing with my kids so they aren’t getting brain-rot in front of the television. I am also creating a word wall for my oldest along with teaching him how to write his name and do some simple adding and subtracting.
My youngest, the 1-year-old, doesn’t enjoy being left out, so during “school” we are learning body parts (focusing mostly on the face right now) and object names (identifying by pointing). We might move on to shapes and colors this summer, but only if he is ready.
Of course we also do things like library trips, zoo visits, and playdates with friends.
You can imagine that with all of these things, we stay pretty busy.
It’s easy to say “must be nice” to teachers who get their summers “off”, and I generally respond with “Oh it IS!” But it’s probably not because of the reason YOU think it is.
I’m not sitting around sipping Bloody Mary’s and watching re-runs of Sex in the City. I’m using these precious months to prepare for a new school year for myself and for my boys.