There’s a meme that’s floated around the past few years about this time of the year. It states that every month has 28-31 days, except for the last month of school which has a ton more days. The last month of the school year is very draining in education. There’s this finality that’s coming, but to reach it you need to complete about 57 tasks while trying to teach students who have been checked out since state testing began 2 months ago. In my position as a district coach this month of the year is spent planning for next year, creating professional developments, and collecting, ordering, and inventorying materials. So, while I don’t have to try to manage children I still have many tasks to complete!
One of the things I will probably miss about education is the school calendar…and not because of summers off. I think I will miss it because the year has a clear beginning, middle, and end. And whatever didn’t go well one year can be revamped at the beginning of the next year when everyone is starting fresh. Of course, having summers off is great; but the last few summers have felt a little bit different. Not only have I been a teacher those summers, I have also been a mother. This leads me to some mixed emotions about this time “off” of work coming up! Let me explain…
As a teacher the summer means a break. No early morning wake ups, no need to worry about staying up too late. Want to go on a random day trip? No need to request time off or pretend to be sick…just go!
As a mother the summer means early morning wakeups and making breakfast before you can drink your first cup of coffee! It also means cold coffee. It means adhering to a schedule to ensure that the kids are fed, stimulated, and tired out enough to take a nap during the day and sleep well at night…so that you can at least get SOME sort of break. Any random trips take about 10 hours to pack for…do we have enough diapers, wipes, snacks??
As a teacher the summer means the opportunity to earn more money by taking on additional jobs!
As a mother the summer means you mom or dad hard 24/7. OR spending more money on summer camps or babysitting. Of course there’s also the money spent to entertain the children. Zoo memberships and Museum memberships add up!
As a teacher the summer means reading grown up books, not just teacher manuals and children’s books. You can engage in grown up tasks and learn new grown up things.
As a mother the summer means engaging with your own children in children things. Continuing to teach and enrich the lives of your kids by doing many of the things you’ve probably done with your students throughout the year. Which is great…but you’d really like to read that trashy romance novel that would make such an inappropriate bedtime story for your littles.
As a teacher the summer means going to the grocery store in the middle of the day…no crowds or lines!
As a mother the summer means going to the grocery store with your kids in the middle of the day…less crowds and lines, but just as much whining and pulling items off shelves as during the school year.
As a teacher the summer means having more time to exercise, cook, and just live a healthier lifestyle (If you don’t count the wine imbibed).
As a mother the summer means your exercise is chasing your kids around a park…or maybe even a grocery store (see above)! It means trying to find new recipes for your kids to decide “I don’t like that” before taking a bite. And if you are lucky enough to get a workout in, it probably means paying for childcare and hearing your kids scream on the other side of the wall while you work out. This most likely leads to more wine at night.
As a teacher you simultaneously are excited about and dread the end of summer.
As a mother you crave more adult interaction without interruption…even if it means going back to work and sitting in a professional development. When was the last time you spoke to another adult with having a “MOM!” interjected into the conversation? You also dread and feel guilty about not having as much time to spend with your kids.
As a teacher you attend summer professional development at your leisure.
As a mother you are unable to attend summer professional development without paying a ton for babysitting and start the school year feeling like you have to catch up already!
As a teacher you can tackle those projects you’ve been wanting to tackle all year. Redecorate a room? Knit a sweater? Plant a garden? Go for it!
As a mother your projects include making birdhouses, slime, and rockets and then cleaning up glue, glitter, and birdseed for the rest of summer.
I know I will miss these years of my children’s lives probably more than I miss the lesiurely summers I had when I was only a teacher. But that doesn’t mean I can’t notice and name the differences! So cheers to all the teacher/parents out there with mixed emotions going into summer break: Longing for the days when summer was really a break and a time to rejuvenate…while also looking forward to spending more time with your kids…while also feeling exhausted already just thinking about the summer to come!
Whether you are a teacher or teacher and parent some things always stay the same: The summer will fly by and whether you had a busy and expensive summer with kids or you spent your days at the beach sipping pina coladas, you’ll be longing for the next one to come as quickly as possible!