I’ve worked in education my entire adult life, some 20 plus years, and have been (I hope) a successful teacher and administrator and an asset to the two schools at which I’ve been employed. Even when I was a high school student, I planned my studies to return to the classroom and to lecture from the other side of the desk.
I have considered, both strongly and recently, leaving the field of education for some other pasture found over some distant mountain. Many have been the reasons for this consideration, but, so far, none of outweighed the advantages of remaining where I am.
This week, I think of one most prominently: the mythic draw of Spring Break.
As a teacher, there are hardly two more powerful words than those. When slogging through the doldrums of February or checking of the calendar squares in what I refer to every year as March of Death, Spring Break shines like a light in the midst of what is a very, very long and dark nine month tunnel.
I understand those outside of education who cannot believe that we within it need more time off than the summer months… but a three month summer is as much a myth as Spring Break, perhaps more. As an administrator, I no longer enjoy such months away from the office. I am a twelve month employee. But our teachers will wrap up their 2012 – 2013 on May 28 and will return to work on August 7. By any count, that is not three months.
I cannot explain rationally why teachers need Spring Break, I can only ask you to take my word for it. Full time teachers interact with well over 100 different personalities in the course of their day. Their day starts early and is rarely over when they leave school. Their work continues and continues. The Cinnamon Girl once read a perfect piece about this entitled “Let’s Pay Teachers What They Are Really Worth” (you can find it HERE) that sums up the time teachers spend in harness far better than I can.
In the biz, the question leading up to Spring Break is “what are you doing over break?”Friends (including Stretch and Sous Chef with their mother) are traveling. Some teachers, like The Junior Senator are on trips with students. Others have massive household projects in the offing.
What are you doing over break? Our answer this year: nothing.
Which is not entirely true.
“Nothing” could imply that we planned to simply lie in bed which, while it would be terrific, is not entirely what we have planned or have already done. We didn’t travel. We didn’t make grand plans. We did host Easter Sunday dinner but, if you live with The Cinnamon Girl, you know that’s just plain fun.
We made a list of stuff to get done, things that sometimes typical days do not provide the space or energy to accomplish. We determined to run errands and spend time with our mothers and check things off our list (which we love to do) and watch television and go to a movie or two (Jurassic Park 3D, anyone?)
And that’s precisely what we’ve done and what we plan to do for the remainder of the week.
If a little re-charging of the batteries for the final stretch run to summer occurs along the way, we feel we’re entitled.
I cannot think of more mythic or wonderful words.
Not this week at any rate.