I’ve been really enjoying watching my teacher friends travel, relax, having summer fun. (Michigan lakes, of course, figure large.) The break from teaching is, in fact, an important part of their effectiveness within the current system.
Why? What is this break for?
For teachers, it’s for building a stock of infinite patience. That’s what students deserve, and need. When you’ve taught key signature 23 times, but little Elizabeth will finally get it on the 24th. When, after your repeated announcements, emails, and postings leading up to a concert, you still hear “I didn’t know we had a concert today.” When you need to stay after school to care for a student, even though you’re missing family time at home.
Failure is the surest path to success. To allow students to keep failing, failing, failing requires patience, patience, patience.
The current educational system requires nonstop, 60-80 hour weeks from teachers from August to June. There are simply not enough hours in the day to teach, plan, see family, eat well, sleep, and practice self-care.
It’s the precious few weeks in the summer that build a teacher’s stores of patience, with the hope they will survive through the entire school year to follow. If you wonder how much patience is really needed, consider how often you have seen a parent lose patience with their own children…and then consider that on school days teachers see kids for more waking hours than parents–and in groups of 20…25…50…100!
Keep resting, teachers. You need and deserve every minute.