We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
I think a blend of both is needed. In our family there are many teachers. We usually all meet at a family farm for a week of visiting and work. Most of us take small summer trips and on occasion large trips as well. These summer breaks serve as a good stress reducer but we often find we use them for gathering ideas and information to use the next year. It seems that some of our stress comes from boredom with our lesson plans or with a lack of interesting lessons. Most of us also take additional classes and sharpen our skills during the summer break. I don't oppose having school all year like in Australia but I know those teachers and students take several smaller "Holidays" so I suppos the opportunity to refresh, so to speak, would still be available. However, I do enjoy my summers (American style). I have gone some years without the summer break and I found that in such an instance, I was much harder to get along with. During those years, I was grouchy from day one and less inclined to try new ideas.
I have been teachin for several years. I have taken classes during some summers. I also need the summers to "detox" from the previous school year. I think it takes me about two weeks for this. then I have about 6 weeks for relaxing or a class or two. Then in August I gradually start thinking of the upcoming year and students. This summer I started classes for my Master's degree AND also am taking a HQT class. So I am busy but at least I can do this all on my own time so I can enjoy time with me family.
Since I began teaching, I have done all of the above during my summers: taught, took classes, traveled, etc. It takes a summer to recover from a school year, unfortunately. Other years, it takes a summer to gear up for new work ahead.
I do believe that teachers are almost masochistic in the level of stress they put themselves under, and I think many need to expand their horizons with a good long trip or other change of scene.
None of the above fit into my thought as a teacher over the summer. I am at school two hours before school starts and am usually there until after six o'clock each evening. I take work home with me. I take professional development classes during the school year, as well as all the other meetings and obligations as a teacher which suck up time. Everything I do I look at as a potential subject or extension to my teaching. When I'm at the grocery I think about math and social skills; on a bike ride I think about science and writing. Being able to create my own space and time over the summer months gives me a chance to recharge. If I choose to take a course or training it is on my terms, my subject, my money, my time, my choice.
I had to select none of the above because I think a teacher should be able to take a break and attend to personal needs and recharge. BUT, because there isn't enough time to keep up with everything in our field, it's necessary to attend professioinal development, do self study, reflect, and plan. That's what we have to do for our students and our own satisfaction of being able to teach the best we know how. Teachers should not have to do both or one or the other. Other occupations take their work home and do it during vacations, but generally their work may not be so physically and mentally exhausting as teaching.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this. We have to make choices that are right for us, individually.
The answer is no. We should embrace a break because we can and it's there for a reason.
So I traveled this summer and took in a lot? Did I think "how can I use this to teach?" of course not. It's internal, it will come out of me naturally. Not everything has to be organized into a lesson plan!
Other schools mandate curriculum and standardized tests- thank God I don't teach at that kind of school, but I know many who do. It's time for teachers to speak up and feel proud of whatever they choose to do for the summer.
We have to have so many professional development hours that 20 thousand dollars later!!!! I have my Masters. I have spent the last three years working full time and going to grad school full time. Ridiculous schedule! but all in the name of learning. I worked at a year round school, but we didn't have scheduled breaks, except holidays. Seriously, I was burning out after two years! 2 years! I made a change, got my summers off and I have the luxury of staying home in my pjs all day or going out and doing something. Am I thinking about this next school year? yes. Am I fretting over lessons now? Heck, no.
I am a big fan of "winging it". Call me crazy.
I love polls, but they're better when one can't vote twice.:)
I have been teaching for 14 years. There's nothing more boring than a monotonous teacher with no passion who is burned out and does the same thing year after year. If we want good education, teachers cannot be static. Teachers need to develop as people in the same way that students do. That's what sabbaticals are for. There needs to be a balance. During the traditional school year there is no balance. It's a mad rush every day. Personally, I would prefer year round, BALANCED schedules. But in lieu of that, summers create time for development that is both personal and professional. This is good for our students.
That was New Zealand and this is America. If we give them an inch, I'm afraid they will take a mile and just hike the standards up higher if the school year is longer. I know one thing - my child needs the break and this summer is a fantastic experience of rest, relaxation, and life & family engagement.
I think that the traditional summer brteak be done away with and that school should be an all year process. I taught in New Zealand where an all year model is used. I felt tasht it reduced stress on both the students and teachers.