Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Get Your Head Out of It

Around this time of year a lot of people tend to think that teachers have the sweetest job around. Three months off? Who wouldn't want that job?! Sadly for them, it's not that simple. First of all, it's not three months, but two months. Secondly, while some teachers do use most of the time for leisure, most are working at least part time during the summer, either taking on a part-time job, working on their own professional development as a teacher, debriefing the year and planning for the following year or a combination of all these things.

As the past week has been the first week of the summer, most teachers have hardly detached themselves from the classroom yet. This is probably especially true for the first-year teachers. Last year during the first two weeks of summer I simply had to recover. By the last day of school it's as if a freight train knocked you down, a stampede of bison ran right over you and then some jerk burned you on your forehead with a cigarette. You have little clue as to what happened and your head is spinning so hard that you're nauseous. Personally, I was in a horrible state of disrepair having not exercised in months, lacking sleep and having pushed myself to the breaking point time and again throughout the year. It was the first time in my life where I agreed that a long break was the best thing I could do in order to improve myself and support my career.

If you're a first year, you should take the next couple weeks off entirely. Go on vacation with what little money you may have saved or simply sleep in every day. Do what you need to in order to get out of the school mindset. This is important for a variety of reasons, but a short list is: it will help prevent burnout; you probably need to recover some of your previous health; and, in order to improve as much as possible next year you need to approach it with a clear head, willing to change things in your classroom. The latter is especially important if you intend to teach next year and thereafter.

After you've had that time off, we can talk about what needs to be done this summer (from a post-second year's perspective) in order to make next year a good one.

Today's Wine: 2008 Marotti Campi Luzano. This is an Italian white made from Verdicchio grapes. It's floral up front, smooth and citric on the palate. It was another of the case assembled by the New York Wine Club.


  1. Though I know you do this as a matter of course, I think it's particularly appropriate that you included a wine choice with this post.

    It's nice that you reach out to new teachers. My first year I would've loved to have read something like this.

  2. I've been out since May 28th and have been to six doctor appointments, four dentist appointments, a few times to the lab for blood work, a mammo, two other scans, and two vet appointments. I have another appointment this week. At the end of the month I have three days of PD and on August 4th I will be back at school getting my room moved. So, where did my "three" months go?!

    I agree, first year teachers need to take those weeks off and completely relax.