From the Front Lines

5 Things Teachers Don’t Want to Hear During Summer

The school year is exhausting. Teachers put so much effort into their day to day interactions with students, but also into their PLCs, curriculum, and interactions with administration and parents. When summer break finally rolls around, there are some things we simply do not want to hear until August.
“You’re so lucky to ______”
This must be the top statement teachers consistently hear. “You’re so lucky to get paid for not working all summer,” or “you’re so lucky to have a month/two months off,” are common ones. At some schools, the salary is divided into 12 months, but if you’re like me, I don’t receive a paycheck over the summer as my salary is divided into 10 payments. Just come into my classroom for one day, and you’ll see why I’ve earned this month off.
I do feel lucky to have a profession in which I have consecutive time off, but when people say to teachers they’re lucky, it’s like they’re saying we can’t complain about our jobs because we get so much time off. It also seems to come from a lack of knowledge about the profession too, because as we all know, teachers are never “off.” We are constantly thinking and planning for next year, gathering supplies, tweaking things, etc. There is no rest for the teacher-weary!
“When do you go back?”
NO! I just started summer break, why would you say this to me? It’s like asking runners who just completed a marathon when they’re going to do their next one. Don’t you see how haggard and tired I am? Just no.
“Since you’re not working, can you ______?”
This one might come from family members or even friends. They’ll ask you to do something for them by guilt tripping you with the fact that you’re off, and they’ve still got to labor the summer away. We’ll do stuff for you if you just ask normally, you don’t have to say it that way!
“Hi, Mr./Ms./Mx. ________!”
Lord no, the school year was real and it was fun, but I do not want to run into my students when I’m in my bikini drinking a margarita. Sure, it might be unavoidable to see your students over the summer (especially if you live in a small town), but summer is for me getting my identity back as an adult person who is not in charge of 20+ little people. I’d rather not be caught off guard by students when I’m adulting it up.
“Why did my kid get an F on his report card?”
If you haven’t been tracked down by parents complaining about their child’s grades over the summer, you’re lucky. I once witnessed a friend who opened the gate to her house and was surprised to see an angry parent standing there demanding why her child got a low grade on a math test. Parents, we are more than willing to discuss your child’s grades…during the school year. In fact, I’m sure your child’s teacher has tried to contact you multiple times about your child’s performance. Summer is not the time! We are off duty.
The Last Word
It’s true that teachers love their jobs. There’s no way we could do it if we didn’t. We are thinking about school over the summer break, and we are preparing for next year and going to PD and reading books about our profession and planning our new classroom layout in our heads. We love our jobs almost to the point of obsession, but everyone needs a break. There are some things you just shouldn’t say to a broke, tired teacher on vacation!

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