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I just retired from teaching as a second career. I believe that it's necessary to achieve a balance. You should have enough 'vacation time' to refresh yourself, but classes and seminars can be refreshing in a different way.
Remember, in spite of what the public may think, this summer hiatus with students is just that -- no students. We are still on the job teaching and preparing to teach.
Even though I am retired, I plan to keep up with educational classes and trends as I go along.
I retired from teaching two years ago and am happy to report that my days and summers are my own to do with as I see fit. I have always been an advocate of self discovery and summer for me was a way to expand myself and return to the classroom in a refreshed and happy frame of mind. There were only the restrictions of time and money on my summers. I did take courses that interested me from photography to language courses but that wasn't always a priority. What I did learn was always a help to me in the classroom, garden based science, singing and dancing classes, yoga stretching, or ceramics. In 31 years of teaching, taking lunch in a new local restaurant or a long stroll on the beach could equally capture my attention. I didn't want to regret not taking a trip or a coffee with a friend. I read books that were a mix of non and fiction. There was no should in my summer, only want and that is what I want for every teacher, every person. I believe that what we do is who we are and I have gotten rid of should in my vocabulary and replaced it with want.
While I don't need to take many courses anymore, I use the summer to get caught up in a variety of professional topics I have no time for during the school year. I too sleep in, do lots of gardening, hang out with my family, clean out the garage, get away a bit, and read for pleasure. However I also catch up on my professional journals, search the web, write little grants and plan new things to do with my students. It is a balance, trying to get done all the things I have no time for during the school year.
And now that everyone has reminded me I have only 3 weeks to finish the grants and get the garage cleaned out... Enjoy your time off!
I have been a teacher for thirty-one years. I like for my summer to gear up for the next school year. I am an avid walker in the community. My passion is my teaching and I could not go an entire summer without engaging myself on some kind of technology improvement plan. Last year all of my software was new for my students and myself. As do many teachers, I come to school when is dark and leave school when it is dark. I am still be challenged by catching up with the cutting edge of technology. My frustration is to be one of the most knowledable in the area of technology. I evaluate my papers from my student on a daily basis but it leaves little time for me to learn more new technology. I survive maybe on four or five hours of sleep and crash on the weekends but still find time to do school work. It is very hard for me to balance during the school year between the responsibility to my family and the duties of my profession.
I believe summer should be a time for both activites, depending on the individual needs of the teacher. We all go through "phases" in our lives. Some are in the "young children" phase and need the family time. Some, like me, are new "empty-nesters" and really want the learning/developing time to keep busy. It is a very personal decision, one that should be respected regardless of the choice made.
I'm constantly reading, checking out new methods, new ways to teach Health and Physical Education. I was looking at an article on globalizing one's classroom and I saw this survey and clicked both. Having missed not a day illness or personal days I am proud to say I just finished my 20th year and I'm stoked to start my 21st. Without that feeling I retire from teaching. Have a great summer all.
I have very mixed emotions as I write this, for all teacher's
are on individual paths during their life. One cannot compare
the need for a new teacher fresh out of college to an experienced teacher who has always kept their professional development up to status.
Observation is a great key to learning. In the past few weeks I learned a bit more about human nature & life when I watched families on the beach, & at the same time began reading John Irving's " The Son of the Circus".
Enlightenment has many avenues & waves to explore.
After 21 years of teaching middle school, I have found that balance. It has always been my desire, to keep learning and growing as an educator. I would say in the past I did not have the balance. I was drawn to programs for example TRAC, or Nasa fellowships that gave me the content and the opportunity to work with a scientist as well develop curriculum for my classroom. Now my goal is to teach summer workshops to help guide teachers in areas of classroom management, organizational skills, and content. In that respect teaching locally at Chabot Space and Science has enabled me to do just that. While still selecting to participate in selective programs for example the Yale National Initiative to Strengthen Public Schools, where teachers from San Francisco Unified School District, Pittsburg, Philly, Pa. Santa Fe, Mexico, Chicago, Ill., New Castle, Delaware, Dekalb,Ga., New Haven, Conn., Richmond, Va., Charlotte, NC., and Houston, Tx. come to Yale to receive a two week intense content driven seminars and develop curriculum based on our own school need within a school district. But I do feel, that taking time off for the whole summer can as well be productive, but for me I need both.
Teaching is such a part of my life, I could not go for 8 weeks and not think, read about and or study up for the next year. This is also my first summer in four years that I have not been in school or taken p.d. courses. I've really bonded with my two yr. old grandson, slept, slept, slept, watched movies and just sat and listed to the tree frogs on my front porch. I have enjoyed every minute and now I will be ready to meet a new group of students in 3 weeks.
There should be no "shoulds." Just as no one can predict what a school year will bring, no one can dictate what a teacher needs in the summer. This has been the first summer since 2002 that I have not been in at least two and a half weeks of school during the summer, either for professional development or earning my masters.
What have I been doing? Getting up when I want. Reading what I want. Thinking about important stuff. Silly stuff. Seeing family and carpooling kids. I've also spent way too much time organizing my classroom and making plans for my second decade of teaching... while it's quiet and I'm not being pulled in five different directions.
It's nice that no one told me this year what I should do. I have two more weeks to do what I want, and I'm going to cherish every minute of it!