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Teacher Says Summers Are No Break Whatsoever!

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Lori Curley: Many people are drawn to teaching because they get the summers off -- but for me, "off" is "on."

Woman holding broom

At 6:00 AM in September, I get to take a shower, make some lunches, throw frozen waffles in the toaster, yell "Time to get up!" and leave the house. Whereas at 6:00 AM in July, I get up, drive my husband to the train station and return to the kitchen, which becomes my holding cell. By about noon, I have fed my own groggy-eyed children and half the kids on the street who were summoned by text. ("Hvng pcaks. Come now.")

The kids appreciate my being there, measuring and stirring, so I don't mind that I don't get a shower until -- well, sometimes not at all.That's because, since I am "free," my husband -- who usually walks home from the train during the school year -- asks me to pick him so late and with such irregularity that I cannot find the time for a decent shower.

Another bonus of being "free" all summer is errand-running in the middle of the day. This is a treat, because I get to avoid the rushing-around work-mommies who, cell phone to ear, set up blockades all over the market -- a la a game of Parcheesi, a game I always hated and lost -- which puts me in a foul mood on many levels. The middle of the day has its own set of obstacles, though. More often than not, I end up in line behind the other creatures of leisure: senior citizens. These kind people, whom I respect dearly and whom I will join sooner than I think, are great for chatting but notorious for using exact change, which they keep in purses within purses with zipped compartments. They remind me of Penn and Teller, who are also charming and more pleasant than the walking Parcheesi pieces, but who might also slow down a line at CVS.

The kitchen sink drives me nuts. September through June, I barely give it a thought, but July through August, the sink (and the counters surrounding the sink) are deep with glasses, bowls, plates, knives, pots, bowls and more bowls. Only Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat" kitchen looks worse. I did not know that my kids ate so much, or had so many friends who ate so much. This may explain why every year the middle school lets a teacher go and hires more cafeteria staff.

I would write more, but duty calls. My daughter's friend needs another pancake.

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9 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 24, 2010, 5:36 AM

wah wah wah - I have so many teacher friends and I am currently in the process of getting certified because no matter what this author says she is NOT working 3 for 12 weeks of the year. Sure, she’s doing standard house work, but she should be doing that year round anyway!! Imagine working year round and doing all that stuff. Gosh get over your lazy self!!

Laura D June 24, 2010, 5:48 AM

Sounds like it’s your attitude that needs readjusting more than your profession. I’m a teacher and I love my summers. And yes, I have a house full of toddlers and adolescent boys. They also eat constantly, are noisy, make messes, etc. But I put it all in perspective. I teach them how to help clean up after themselves and even how to make their own turkey sandwiches. And if your kids can text, they are obviously old enough to do some chores and stuff. Yes, the friends can help too! And just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you still can’t pop a waffle occassionally. Be grateful you have the leisure time to stand in those long lines. I cherish this time, it goes by so fast! Your title is all wrong. You should have put “This Teacher” not “Teachers.” Don’t speak for all of us! Most of my friends cherish the summer too. It’s the reason we stay sane!!!! Adjust that attitude and look for the good in what you have.

Leah June 24, 2010, 6:30 AM

I’m a teacher and I will be the first to say that WE GET OFF 3 MONTHS per year!! I’m so embarrassed by other teachers who say “oh we NEED the 3 months off” - clearly they have never had real, year round jobs (like I did) before becoming teachers. My summers are far easier than when I’m at work because the only thing I have to do is take care of the kids and house work - doing the school year I have to do those things plus work. This teacher gives us all a bad name!

Black Iris June 24, 2010, 8:19 AM

I’m a mom and I thought this was funny. I don’t get summers off either and I appreciate someone acknowledging the work involved.

Anon June 24, 2010, 3:38 PM

Most people working everyday (non teaching) jobs don’t get this. Count your blessings (benefits) and quit your bitching!!

Rachel June 24, 2010, 3:43 PM

I think this article was meant to be lighthearted and funny. To the people bashing her: get over yourselves!

Kristen B June 25, 2010, 11:00 AM

You have got to be kidding me! What a whiner! You have three months to be with your kids you lucky b@stard. And that’s not including all the vacations you get during the year. Stop complaining and enjoy - you’re luckier than most.

erotik sahnelerden kesitler April 2, 2011, 10:48 PM

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Teacher for 26 years May 19, 2011, 1:52 PM

This year, I am off for two months, not three. Time off is a BIG misnomer, because likely as not, I am taking classes to renew my credential (at my personal expense) or traveling to someplace that will be used in my work. A chunk of this time is also used in curriculum meetings. The person who is scandalized by teachers who say they “need” the time off has obviously never taught middle school. As a special educator, I find that the unpaid time off allows me to regroup and come back refreshed. And yes, I worked all-year jobs when I was in graduate school.

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