Tag Archives: teachers work a ten month year

Summer is Slipping By

slow down summer

How can tomorrow be August already?  Summer vacation goes by so quickly.  So many people think that teachers have it easy with their summers off, but many of them, me included, have to work during the summer.  Our school district pays us on a ten month scale so there is no salary coming in if I don’t work in the summer too.  I don’t make nearly as much in my summer job as I do teaching, but it is a lot less work and a great break for the summer.  It just means that there is not a lot of free time to get away.

When I was growing up, we spent the whole month of August in The Poconos.  As a kid, it was one of my favorite things about the summer.  We try to get the kids up there over the weekends in the summer, but this year was filled with baseball games on the weekends and we didn’t make it up there.  The next few weekends are filled with weddings and family commitments so I don’t foresee us getting there anytime soon.   When the kids were little, we headed down to Long Beach Island for a week for a few summers.  We don’t live far from the ocean and we need to take more advantage of that.  My big dream for when I win the lottery some day 😉 😉 is to buy a home on the ocean that I can escape to whenever I want to.

There is one more week of summer camp for me and then a brief overnight trip to Connecticut to look at a few colleges with DJ.  That’s our big “trip” for the summer this year.  Sometimes I feel guilty for not being able to provide the kids with more vacations but we still try to make the summers fun for them.  A trip to Six Flags Great Adventure with Dave, baseball games, camp for Drew, the town pool…. there isn’t a shortage of things to do but it is always nice to get away for awhile.

School doesn’t start up again until the first week of September so we will try to fill up August with a lot of fun activities.  Next year at this time, we will be packing DJ up for college around this time!!  Time really does fly by!

Teachers

teaching

In New Jersey, public schools close for two days every November in order to hold a huge teacher’s convention in Atlantic City.  I am not sure exactly how many years the convention has been in place, but even as a kid I remember school being closed the first Thursday and Friday of November.  Last year, because of the hurricane that destroyed a large part of the Jersey Shore, it was canceled.  This year, it is back.  I did not go.  I have seen numerous comments about why teachers need this “time off.”  A friend posted something on Facebook today, and with absolutely no malice to her, I had to share it here.  She was wondering how many teachers actually go to the convention.  To be quite honest, I do not know that statistic.  There were several light hearted comments on her Facebook thread, mostly just conversation.  I stayed out of it until I read one comment that I just could not sit back and not respond to.  I will very rarely ever comment on any educational posts.  I keep all political comments to myself as well.  I know that some things are best to not put in writing, but I could not let it go.  I apologized to my friend who started the original post – and she in turn wrote privately to me that she never meant to start anything negative about teachers, (which I never thought was her intention.)

This was the post from someone I do not know….“I never understood this (regarding the convention and two days off.)   Most of the working world gets the equivalent of 4 to 8 weeks off a year ( 10 paid holidays and 2 to 6 weeks of vacation). New Jersey Teachers get 17 weeks off. I could never understand why, with summers and school holidays, they need to interrupt the school year with an additional 2 days off to attend a convention. Why can’t that convention be scheduled during winter or spring break, or during the summer. I have relatives and friends who teach in many other states and they have never heard of such a thing.”

I had to respond.  I do NOT get my summers off.  Since my school year is a ten month year, I get paid only during those ten months.  I have to get a summer job every year to financially support my family.  I do not get to go on vacations every summer.  Many of my coworkers have to work two jobs in order to support themselves.  Not to mention the hours of work that we bring home from work everyday and every weekend.  We don’t get paid for that extra time.

In order to attend the NJ Convention, (which I truly would like to take advantage of at some time,) I would have to pay my own way, it is two hours away so I’d need to pay for a hotel room and pay for any courses that I’d want to take.  This also doesn’t take into account that many teachers who would like to attend, also have to arrange for childcare for their own children who are also off from school during these days.

I know that she is not alone in her thinking, as I have seen from other postings.  Teachers don’t have it easy.  I would never say that my job is more difficult than any other person’s BUT it is so discouraging to hear that people make comments like this without knowing how it really is.  Teachers are not “raking in the dough”, making six figure salaries.  Getting to work daily at 7:30 and leaving at 5 does not equal that typical “8:30-3:30” school day so many people think we have.  I put in more than 45 hours a week JUST at school.  Not to mention the hours I spend working at home.  This is typical of most teachers I know.

I am not writing this to pat myself on the back.  Not my point at all.  I just wish that people knew just how hard some of us work to make sure that their children, who we spend hours with every week, are being educated, loved and cared for every day of those 180 days they are in our care.