Summer Time Summary

July 20, 2008 at 12:08 pm 2 comments

Summer in Summary

I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve written a post. The summer is typically my most prolific writing season but, like most people, life has been busy, busy, busy. You know how time goes by and you recollect being busy but can’t remember what you’ve been doing? I feel a need to list what I’ve been up to so that when someone says, “What have you been doing with your summer?” I have a written record that reminds me that I’ve actually been pretty darn productive. Please bear with me as I outline the events of the past month….most of which I am going to do individual posts on this week as I catch up with my writing.

School ended on Friday, June 20th; late this year due to our abundance of snow. The following week was spent updating documents for our adoption. Not just a couple, mind you, but almost the entire dossier. This being my third time doing it (yes, three times), I was able to gather the needed materials, get them notarized, and drive to Augusta to have all twenty eight documents apostilled in record time. During this week, I also went in to school for at least two full days to work on my classroom which was a disaster upon the close of the school year.

The second week of summer vacation brings me to the week of July 4th. I kept my visits to school down to only one day while spending the remainder of the week putting three coats of polyurethane on the upstairs landing, catching up on housework, and getting ready for our annual July 4th Open House. On July 5th I traveled to my parent’s in Mexico, Maine for a celebration in honor of my brother Tom’s marriage that took place in St. Croix this past November. When I returned home on Sunday afternoon, I promptly took a nap and then worked on cleaning up the remainder of our own little gathering held on the 4th. The following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were full days spent at school sorting, packing files, weeding our student garden, and trying to find the stench that has been emanating from somewhere in the classroom. (I love teaching science!) On Thursday, I packed for our weekend camping trip to Vermont for which we left on Friday and returned Sunday evening.

Monday (we’re up to July 14th) was spent unloading school books and files from my car, figuring out where to put them, cleaning and putting things away from camping, and doing laundry. On Tuesday, I had a “ME” day and biked to the gym, worked out, spent a couple hours knitting under our shade tree, and then went to girls’ dinner at a friend’s house. On Wednesday, my dad had surgery (which went GREAT!) so I spent the day (7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) at the hospital and with my mom and have made return visits each day. Today, Sunday, family has arrived from Florida so I’ll be driving to just south of Old Orchard Beach (where they are staying) for the day.

Now, I was supposed to take a class at the University of New Hampshire from July 6th to July 11th. This would have been a week away from home living in dorms and focusing on science. I chose not to take it because we could have possibly been leaving as early as July 20th for Kazakhstan and that my dad’s surgery was initially scheduled for that week. I’m glad I withdrew from that commitment. It would have been just too much at this point, even though the week would have been an incredible learning experience.

Ahh, so here we are, July 20th, and I feel like my summer is just beginning. Most people are envious to think that, as a teacher, I get my whole summer off. I agree. It really is a great perk of the job, but the reality of this is that there isn’t as much time away from school as most people think.

In Defense of Summer Vacation

I know I spend at least a few days to a week cleaning my classroom after school lets out. There just isn’t time to do it during the school year. Our school has a week of in-school workshops for curriculum planning for the following school year scheduled during summer vacation. Usually, another week (or two) is spent taking classes for recertification credits or to just learn about something new to bring back to the classroom. Finally, for me, the second week of August signifies the beginning of planning for the following school year as well as at least one week spent in school getting ready for my new students. So let’s add this up: 1 week out + 1 week class + 1 week planning + 1 week getting ready= 1 month. Of course, this math doesn’t include the time spent at home planning, but I won’t add that in at this point.

Essentially, what is often imagined as an extensive three month summer vacation (June, July, and August) by most is actually more like four weeks. Mind you, this still isn’t anything to complain about. I revel in my four weeks of summer vacation. Another thing to keep in mind, though, is that most teachers have summer jobs. I also shared in this side work for many years (including working at least two nights a week during the school year), but finally started earning enough money after 15 years of teaching (I just finished my 19th) so that I could give it up. (Getting married and having a second income helped, too.)

Just one more point on teacher vacations. It is true that we also have three weeks of vacation during the school year; one at Christmas along with breaks in February and April. During these weeks I do try to take a few days for myself and family, but the reality of my profession is that these weeks often serve as “catch-up” weeks and are spent grading papers, updating grade books, and doing lesson planning that will hopefully take you to the next vacation.

Teaching is an all encompassing profession that also sucks up many evenings and weekends. During school, teachers are “on stage” almost the entire day. We have to squeeze in time to eat (typically 20 minutes in the cafeteria while supervising students), grab a coffee, use the bathroom, or any other personal necessities. On most days we have only one free period for planning, correcting, etc. so the bulk of our work often gets taken home or is done after school. Most teachers don’t arrive at 8 a.m. and leave at 2:30 or 3 p.m. Many get to school at least a half hour early and stay long after 4 p.m. with much of that time spent assisting students. School work is lugged to and from home almost daily and any time away from school usually includes time focused on our profession.

So, what am I getting at? If we teachers get some extra time off in the summer it is greatly deserved and needed to keep from burning out. Like the kids, at the end of the school year we, too, are craving a break so that we can return in the fall refreshed and energetic. I know that by the time August comes around I start to get excited for new things to try and the possibilities of the coming school year.

Summer is busy and goes much too quickly, but it is appreciated and loved by teachers everywhere…more than you can imagine!


Entry filed under: Everyday Life, Kazakhstan Adoption. Tags: , , .

Kazahkstan Adoption Update…Sort Of Coming Across Andy Rooney

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. susan  |  July 20, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    hey girl…wow, you are very busy!!! But busy is best as time goes by quicker and you don’t have time to worry about adoption stuff. 🙂

    I have such a huge admiration for teachers….my stepson is a teacher in Oakland California and has been there for I think 6 years…and LOVES IT. I am not sure how he supports himself, because teaching is one job that deserves so much more money than it pays. When we were there last week, he took Sean (my son) for 2 nights and he is currently a principal at summer school. Sean had a real eye opening experience with witnessing a small skirmish and confronting a possible theft!

    I am glad your dad had a successful surgery and you are enjoying family time. 🙂

    I can relate to redoing the dossier-we just did ours a couple weeks ago-but now it’s all apostilled and on it’s way to Kaz…with the exception of our homestudy which is waiting on DCF clearance.

    Hope to meet up with you in Kaz!! We will not be able to stay for the whole trip, but since trip one is lookingto be 6 to 7 weeks, we will still be there in September (if all goes well)
    i would love to meet you in person.

    I’m so ecxited to see Kostanai…it just sounds so awesome. 🙂

  • 2. Angie Sharp  |  August 3, 2008 at 11:28 pm


    I just happend on your blog. It seems we have been through similar ordeals. I began with China and was logged in May 30, 2006. I decided to go to Kyrgzstan due to China’s lenghtening wait and received a referral in March. I traveled to meet my daughter but, am now waiting for a court date. There seems to be no end to the waiting in sight.



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