Many of those outside the teaching profession are quick to ridicule teachers for their “paid” summer vacation. However, such a vacation is a much needed respite from the grueling schedules and workload that educators shoulder while shaping the minds of our country’s future.
In just nine more teaching days (not that I’m counting or anything), my colleagues and I will usher out our pupils and watch as they board their yellow chariots. And, in the tradition started long ago, we will cheerfully sing the chorus of the song “Kiss Him Goodbye” as we wave in unison, watching as each bus departs for the last time.
It’s a way for us, the exhausted teachers, to put closure on another school year, and serves as a fabulous way to kick off summer vacation.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. How will I spend my summer vacation, you ask?
1. The only lesson plans I intend to make are teaching my husband how to make the bed and teaching my children the “Who can be quiet the longest?” game.
2. I will trade in my sensible, on-my-feet-all-day teacher shoes for some nice strappy sandals, flip flops, or my personal favorite—bare feet.
3. The only “faculty meeting” I plan to attend is one where my closest teacher comrades and I gather together to discuss vacation plans over cocktails.
4. The only “phone call home” I will be making is to my parents.
5. I will change my auto-response email message to: “Sorry I am unable to respond to your email. We have no Wi-Fi on the tropical island. I’ll get back to you in September.”
6. The only “assessment” I plan to make is to determine how tan I am, how many cocktails I’ve enjoyed before sunset, and whether “Passion Fruit” or “Kiss Me At Sunrise” is the better shade of polish for my toes.
7. I will rediscover what the top of my dining room table looks like as it becomes liberated from the piles of papers to grade.
8. Instead of packing lunch boxes, I will pack picnic baskets.
9. Instead of beginning my morning to the cacophony of questions, A.M. announcements, and groaning photo copiers, I will leisurely rise to the sound of birds chirping and lawn mowers humming.
10. The only homework I will assign is to catch sunsets and fireflies.
Summer vacation is a hard-earned luxury, which I plan to slink into like a delicious, freshly drawn bath.
I will relish the freedom, slower pace and gosh darn euphoria of it because it will be another twelve long months before my colleagues and I can bid our students adieu while singing “Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye!”