0176: On the necessity of summer for #teachers
#education #teaching #summer #SOSchat
I’ve never, in my time as a teacher, reflected on the necessity of summer beyond my typical “I’m taking a break!” Summer has always been an important time for me to disappear from the stresses of testing and somewhat forget that I’m a stressed out teacher at the end of the year who needs to hibernate for a few months before returning refreshed and ready to work peacefully until the post-X-mas testing rush. Save for the summers I worked on my masters degree I’ve not thought too deeply about why I was veg-ing out.
I have certainly spent my fair share of time in mindless lounging and pleasure reading this summer, but I’ve not been fully able to escape the feeling of urgency in getting back to the crisis at hand. Students need equitable education. They don’t have it. I work with an advocacy group in the south that works to ensure this. I have done so for the past few years alongside my teaching career. States have seen budget cuts that have done untold damage to the educational institutions in my vicinity. The school where I work, though in a different state has not gone unscathed either. Of course, we know the problem runs far deeper than money. Quality, equity, access, bureaucracy, testing, and so forth deeply affect all of our schools. I’ve grown more deeply aware of these problems this year, and finally have done a decent job of matching my action with my understanding (perhaps a self-righteous pat on the back). I digress, I think. I was commenting that I’ve not been able to fully escape the weight of what I should be doing, or the guilt that accompanies thoughts that begin with “I should”.
I have realized this summer the necessity for rest. Some revolutionaries I read often mention the necessity to disappear into the mountains, proverbial or not, in order to function in the world, and further the cause. And, as a note, I mention revolutionaries because I view teaching as a revolutionary act—glean from that what you wish. Anyone working to such an end as the advancement of the ability of one to better function end the world as a thoughtful individual, but dealing with the stresses and burdens of obstructions to this goal such as standardized testing, fear of measuring up to VAMs, and the general politically painful atmosphere that accompanies much of education, etc., etc. needs a blooming break (apologies for the unending nature of the above sentence). Said more succinctly, we’re tired and need a break. I’ve not met a teacher who didn’t need a break. It always seems the first month of summer, for the teachers I know, need the first month just to recover from and process the general craziness of the year that has passed. I certainly need it. The teachers with whom I share my space, physical and beyond, certainly deserve it.
Here’s to some much needed R & R, that we may give it our all when the time comes. Cheers.
0169: School’s out(.)
I’m taking a break. Stay tuned.