There is an old joke that goes: What are the three best parts about being a teacher? June, July, and August!!!
And while most teachers will tell you they have chosen this rewarding field to make a change in the world or be the teacher they never had, most can’t argue that summer break is a definite perk.
Therefore to outsiders, it looks like teaching is a worry-free 9 month job. Who wouldn’t want to take a break from work life to get summers with her kid? I don’t need a summer nanny or 10 weeks of costly summer camps.
But being a teacher-mom with young children, this “free” summer comes with unique challenges. As I am now half way through my summer break with my three beautiful boys, I must argue teacher-moms have a lot on their plate come summer.
We’re Now Full Time Parents!
After the last dismissal from the last faculty meeting of the school year, teachers are supposed to breathe a sigh of relief. Freedom! We pass around viral videos of relaxing on the beach while our alarm clock collects dust.
Yet I am awoken early every morning by at least one happy little face wanting breakfast or a remote. And until my kids’ late summer bedtime, I am now fully in charge of them. Minus a summer camp here or there, it is now up to me to plan every second of my child’s day. I forget every year how much time goes into making sure my kids aren’t too bored, too deep into electronic devices, or too unstructured.
By the time we get into our summer groove, along comes back-to-school for this teacher-mom.
…And We’re Still Teachers!
As a teacher, I need to remember the importance of summer reading, summer brainteasers, and of course summer art projects for my kids. We go on educational trips to museums and discuss what we see at the zoo. Everyday is a learning experience.
And while this may seem like the norm to stay-at-home moms, back to school doesn’t seem that far away. I am continually checking my work email for fall updates or campus news. I dig through summer sales racks looking for supplies for my classroom and swipe through Instagram accounts of teacher influencers looking for new classroom decorating ideas and lesson planning suggestions.
Teaching isn’t something I get set aside in a closet for summer; this is my life.
We Plan For Next Year!
Continuing education is important for teachers. We must keep up with an ever-changing field of learning technology and improve our understanding of children. So every summer, I am constantly collecting learning ideas. I signed myself up to be a part of a learning cohort of teachers seeking a certificate outside their educational degree. I listen to TED talks and other experts talk about education.
I pop onto online training to understand my Google Classroom better. I go to teacher sharing sites for ideas. My brain is in constant motion off the clock.
We Vacation During Peak Seasons!
Summers are made for vacation, right?
Planning for summer vacation is a blast and gets teachers through the last tough weeks of school. But long lines, crowded beaches, and high hotel rates can make summer vacation a nightmare. Yet as a teacher, it’s more difficult to take time away from classrooms just to save a couple dollars or spend less time in line at concessions.
Being a teacher-mom is definitely an ideal situation for parents. We get a lot of time in the summers to be with our kids and schedule that gives us good work-life balance.
But we must also keep in mind that teaching is all-consuming and not something teachers just walk away from for three months.