It’s August and that means school is almost here. As a teacher, every year I feel like summer break goes faster and faster. One of the most popular comments I hear is, “it must be nice to have a break” or “I wish I didn’t have to work during the summer.”
If you know a teacher, you probably know this is one of the worst things you can say to them. Teachers need time in the summer to recharge their hearts and mind preparing them for going back to school.
During the school year, not only do students experience trauma but teachers as well either personally or professionally. When speaking about what teachers experience with their students at school, it stays on their minds for a long time. After I get my kids to bed after a busy summer day, my mind instantly races to all of my past students. Students who have experienced so much trauma at a young age and can’t safely regulating their emotions in the classroom. I think back to every interaction I have had with them. Wondering if how I reacted affected them in a positive or negative way. It is something I know teachers question every day.
While teachers are using the summer to decompress from events of the past year, we are also busy engaging in various professional learning opportunities. This ranges from furthering our own education by taking classes, attending meetings to help prepare for the logistics of the upcoming year, being a part of interview committees, and attending building get-togethers. All of this is done on the teacher’s own time. Why do we do this? It’s what’s best for kids.
The past couple of years have also been taxing on teachers due to COVID-19 restrictions, school shootings, and new educational policies trying to be put into place restricting teacher choice and funds. Still, teachers have been working endlessly to ensure each and every student has the best education possible. They work early mornings or late nights during the year. So while some may view our summers off as a “break” or “not working” we are working and recovering. Summer is a precious time for teachers to rest and recharge for another year of educating our future leaders.