Richard Kemp (wrote an article for Yahoo) couldn’t have summed it up any better.
What is summer like for teachers?
To many, teaching seems to have some cushy perks, especially the two months off during the summer. What do teachers do during the summer?
1) take classes
2) teach classes
3) write curriculum
5) read and write
6) spend time with family
7) prepare for the school year
The romance of having two months off every year to hang out and do nothing is a luxury often missed by many teachers.
1) Educators continue to be educated throughout their careers. To maintain their certification, to move up to other positions, to teach new or different classes, or to strengthen the knowledge they have of their own classes, teachers routinely return to the classroom as students. One of the best times to do this is during the summer. Often, colleges run special courses for teachers during the summer to match time needs. Classes are offered at colleges, sometimes at local public schools, and online.
2) Many of the teachers who receive new education are taught by other master teachers. Additionally, many teachers teach at universities, at camps, in special programs, in summer school, or through workshops. Full-time college faculty often takes off during the summer, leaving summer classes in need of instructors-perfect for teachers. Many camps are now focused on various academics and upper-level pursuits instead of just swimming, sitting by camp fires, and making crafts. These camps are perfect for many teachers to express their unique ideas or specialties or to continue teaching what they teach all year. Summer school is no longer just the place where student who failed the prior year go to catch up or pass. In many locations, summer school is used for students to get ahead. In Maryland, for example, juniors can graduate early by taking an English class during the summer between junior and senior year. Whether one of these original credit courses or a make up course for students who failed, summer school must be taught by the same qualified teachers.
3) Many counties and school districts use their own curriculum, from tests to guides, books to quizzes. This material must be created by somebody. Often, teachers work with colleagues and curriculum designers / experts to produce the materials needed by other teachers in their district.
4) Sure, teachers often travel. Like most of America, teachers take vacations during the summer. Not all of them are just lounging away, though. Many teachers host trips to foreign countries to enhance and enrich student experiences.
5) If not in a formal class, many teachers will strengthen their skills by reading and writing about their topic. It’s a natural part of being a teacher to continue reading and writing extensively. Many teachers put off reading for pleasure or reading books that interest them during the school year because of grading and other academic pressures. The summer is the perfect time for many to catch up on those books on deck.
6) Teachers are an amazingly dedicated group of people often spending much more time with other people’s children than with their own. Summer is a time to help balance this. Like so many others during summer, teachers spend time with family, go on vacation, go camping and hiking, and enjoy what they worked so hard for all school year.
7) Many teachers spend much of their summer getting ready for the next school year. If they were assigned an unfamiliar class, they might need to do the reading, create tests and lesson plans, and otherwise familiarize themselves with the class.
The idea of a 2-month summer vacation is romantic and sounds cushy, but it is, in most cases, just a fantasy. Teachers work hard all school year, and many work hard all summer.