June 8, 2015
V is for Vacation, a teacher’s favorite word! I admit that having summers off was an incentive for me to go into teaching. However, teaching is way too challenging and exhausting for that to be the appeal for long!
Teachers look forward to their vacations as much as their students do. Most schools in the U.S. have three vacation periods a year: 2 weeks for the holidays, 1 week in early spring, and 2 months in summer. Each one of these vacations is a chance to relax and rejuvenate, but summer represents the transition from the old to the new. By this time each year, everyone at school is anticipating the start of vacation. Kids are antsier than normal and teachers tend to have a more relaxed attitude too.
What exactly do we spend our summer vacations doing? Often students are asked to write “What I did on my summer vacation” paragraphs when they first go back to school in the fall. If I as a teacher were writing that, what would I say?
In the early years of teaching, we often spend our summers taking classes, perhaps working toward a graduate degree. In my case, I took classes required for ESL and bilingual teaching certification. The first one I took was a survey course, and it was held in Oaxaca, Mexico – a nice way to combine work and pleasure!
Some teachers will teach summer school or tutor students for part of the summer. Some get other part-time jobs to supplement their income. When my husband was teaching at a Chicago high school, these jobs helped boost his “strike fund” – extra money put aside in case there was a strike and thus a period of not being paid.
Some teachers will just stay home and relax, catch up on sleep and do home-based projects that they never could get to during the school year. Maybe do some gardening, painting, cleaning out closets, whatever.
Of course, the vacations I most look forward to were those during which I got to travel!
Here are the trips I took during my vacation periods:
March 2001 (spring break) – Cuba with my mother
Every summer – our cottage in Northern Wisconsin
July 2003 – Oaxaca, Mexico with others taking a graduate course required for ESL/bilingual education
July-Aug. 2004 – 5 weeks study abroad & homestay in Costa Rica, with my son (took Spanish and a Costa Rican culture course).
June, 2005 (5 days) – Arizona for high school reunion, (where my husband met my two best friends from high school), and visit to my aunt & uncle in Prescott
June 2006 (2 weeks) – another high school reunion and sightseeing in Arizona, followed by a week in Seattle, WA where we had a family reunion of sorts with my husband’s family
Aug. 2007 (5 days) – San Francisco, with my husband, sister & brother-in-law, for an aunt’s memorial
July 2008 – (12 days) Peru – (with a tour company) see elsewhere in this blog for my complete journal of that trip.
July 2009 – (10 days) Hawaii, to visit my husband’s sister & tour Oahu with a short hop to Maui
July 2010 (4 1/2 weeks) Spain – (study abroad) see elsewhere in this blog for my complete journal of that trip.
June-July 2012 – (road trip) ancestors tour to Ohio and Indiana, visit
June-July 2013 – road trip to Texas to visit a high school friend, also visited Memphis, TN.
Late March 2014 (1 week) – road trip to South Carolina, Hilton Head, and Savannah, GA. Thus I’ve managed to take some kind of trip almost every year during my teaching career! I plan to continue traveling as often as possible during retirement, but it could be at any time of year – stay tuned!
This summer will seem like any other summer, except that we have sold our cottage, so next weekend is our last trip up there. I don’t think I’ll feel “retired” until school starts again in August and I won’t be going back!
For me, the summer of 2015 marks the end of an era.