There is a myth that has been perpetuated over time that teachers – or actually all people who work in schools – are “so lucky because they have the summers off.” It is a commonly held belief and one that even teachers’ families sometimes believe to be true. It is time to debunk that myth. It’s true that school years end; students leave on the last day gleefully anticipating the long free days of summer. It’s also true that there are no more classes and things quiet down inside the very classrooms that were bustling with activity a few days before. And it is true that many teachers leave for the summer, looking forward to more time with their families and more freedom in their schedules.
However, what is missed in this picture is that teachers and learners are always teachers and learners. The very teacher who kicks her heels up when she is ending another school year is the same person who is traveling with her family and collecting things to share with her class the next year, reading the book about how to be a better teacher, watching the TED Talk or other video that will support her own professional development or attending a workshop that will inform her teaching in the coming year. Yes, she’s off. Yes, she’s also working because that’s what teachers do. They are passionate about their work. They are teachers because they love learning, working with children and bringing new ideas and experiences to the children in their care.
Yes, many teachers don’t go to their workplace for two months over the summer. Teaching is not a job for most teachers I have known and worked with; it is who they are. They are always teachers, always learning. So this summer when you envy that teacher you may know of who appears to be off while you are continuing to get up and go to work each day know that she is using this time to rejuvenate, reflect and prepare for the school year ahead. It is time well spent.