What I did during my summer vacation . . .
Prior to becoming a teacher, I remember thinking to myself how luxurious it must be for teachers to have three months off every summer. Afterall, there are not many jobs out there in which you get that amount of vacation time, even if you've worked for the same company for a long time. In my previous professional life, I worked mostly as office staff for large companies. At most of these jobs, I got ten days of vacation leave after a year of employment. The game was trying to get vacation time off around federal holidays to maximize the amount of days away from work. So, at the thought of becoming a teacher, I couldn't help but think gleefully to myself about summer vacation.
Most teachers I know, myself included, do a lot of prepping for the upcoming school year. This summer I'm prepping for a new program, SRA Reach, an intervention program which I'll be teaching to my incoming 6th graders. Anytime there is a change in curriculum means that teachers need to familiarize themselves to this change. This will be a third change in curriculum since I began teaching five years ago. The good news is that it keeps me on my toes!
I also spend time on reflecting my previous year of teaching and contemplate the changes I want to make in the upcoming year. I'm never completely satisfied with my performance as a teacher and am always striving for ways to make me and my classroom experience better. This means that I spend time reading online teacher magazines such as Edutopia and blogs written by (and for) teachers.
Teachers usually do have some downtime during our summer time off, but it's nothing like what people imagine. A week after my school year was over, I went to a week worth of training for SRA Reach. Then at the end of July, I'll go to another week worth of training. At the beginning of August, I'll attend some meetings having to do with our union and working with a teacher that I'm mentoring. Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm changing classrooms? That means 2 to 3 days in my old classroom packing up and (hopefully) 2 to 3 days unpacking in my new classroom.
Of course, if I'm truthful with myself, I probably wouldn't have it any other way. I've come to realize that as much as I look forward to summer vacation, after some serious down-time that I need very much, come August I'm looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I remember that anxious feeling I used to get when I was a student the night before the first day of school, wondering about my teachers and the other kids, curious about what I would be learning in the upcoming school year. Even as an adult, I get that same feeling. I usually have a hard time going to sleep because I'm thinking about my students and what challenges we all face in the upcoming school year.
So, my fellow teachers, what did you do during your summer vacation?