The Summer Clause

Yes, I’m now officially on holidays.  Let the hating of my career begin.  This is the time of year where people look at me with those little smiles and the venom behind their eyes when they say, “Must be nice to be a teacher….”

I used to feel the need to defend myself for those who attack me for getting the summer off.  But I don’t anymore.  I smile politely and say, “Yes, it’s a blessing.”

My friends rib me and give me a hard time and when I respond by saying that with only two years in university they too could have this life they usually respond with something to the effective of, “Ya, but then I’d have to TEACH, you know, kids!”

And there’s the underlying gist of it.  Everyone wants my holidays but really none of them want to do my job.  I accept that there is huge amounts of jealousy among my friends and family and so that’s why I take their snide comments like a drop of water off a duck’s back.

The fact is, I’m grateful for my holidays.  For two months I finally get to put MY kids first after ten months of putting everyone else’s kids above my own.  I’ve missed soccer games to stay home and mark essays or complete report cards.  I’ve said no countless times when my daughter desperately wanted one more story but I knew that I had assignments to prep for the next day.  There’s all the nights I didn’t make it home before my kids went to bed because I was at parent conferences, badminton tournaments, special event nights, and all the other things that keep me away from home……For July and August I finally get to say yes when they ask me to go the zoo because no, I don’t have to work tomorrow and so I can do it without feeling guilty.

There are many teachers who go over the lists of things they do that are school related during the summer because they feel the need to justify their summer off to the general public.  I do very little school related activity until about August 15th which is roughly two weeks before I return to the classroom.  I spend my summer being a mom instead of a teacher.  And I’m ok with that.  After all, it’s not as if I’m being paid over the summer anyways.  I’m not.  And many people don’t realize this.  My standard pay check is docked money each month in order to pay me in the months of July and August but that’s money I earned before June 30th.

I get it though.  So many people, particularly those with families, are jealous of the time I get to spend with my kids and the ability to enjoy the summer instead of continuing with my 8 – 4 job like the rest of the working world.  They want that same amount of time off but yet there doesn’t seem to be an increase in applications to Ed school as a result of it.  It’s because most people know in their heart that they don’tt realy want this job.  Those who teach for the holidays are soon weeded out of the profession.  They usually exit with the words, “It just isn’t worth it,” mumbled under their breath.  You need to have a passion for teaching kids to survive this career, not a passion for summer sporting events.

I love your kids.  I spend ten months of the year busting my butt to make sure they are getting the best possible education I can provide for them.  But for now, I’m going to hang up my teaching hat and just be a mom.  Hate me if you need to.  I’m tough.  I can take it.

About Cherra-Lynne Olthof

I've been a middle school teacher for my entire career (which began in 2001). Like my students, I too am a life long learner. My goals include helping my students to achieve their goals, support them in their learning, and to encourage them to think "beyond the grade".
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