The summer is almost over and every teacher in the universe is thinking the same thing, “It’s time to go back already! So soon!”
Every teacher knows that teaching is an exhausting profession. Many tease teachers and state, “Oh, but you get the summers off. What a breeze!”
Not true at all. Any teacher knows that without our summer break our brains would be mush. Teachers are leaders, counselors, parents, spiritual guides (without the religion, of course), and mentors. They do all of these jobs, then teach, and in addition, deal with parents (and not usually under the best situations). Sometimes the overload can be daunting, but tenured teachers don’t know any better, because this is all we have ever known. We make it through, but there are moments when we need a break and not just in summer.
However, along with the frustration of going back to school, there is also the excitement of the new year. Organizing our new supplies, setting up our rooms, reviewing our rosters — all of these tasks are enjoyable in a sense because they remind us that we are starting fresh, with hopefully better and updated curriculum and new ideas to keep the kids engaged and learning. It is a chance for us to improve our classrooms, our students, and also ourselves as educators.
We also encounter great students who just make our day on occasions. And then, there are other students who struggle in their home life and somehow these issues make their ways into the classroom with defiant behavior and lack of filters for appropriate behaviors. Teachers have to take the good with the bad on a daily basis. We know that many times our students see us more than they see their parental figures at home, and this alone makes us sympathize with the plight of the child, regardless of the age.
We are hopeful of a good upcoming year, but along the way, sometimes there are setbacks like deadlines, testing, and more testing. All of this on top of our normal curriculum and tasks concerned with our job. Many women teachers, especially, stress over balancing their roles as teachers and mothers, and try to do both to the best of their ability.
So as the summer ends, and all teachers head back to the classroom, we are reminded that the year will be a great deal of work and sweat and then more work. However, soon the year continues on and before we know it, we are back to summer break.
Summer for teachers is a time of relief and gratitude. It is a time for us to truly breathe. No other profession is offered this gift, but in our case, we can say that we truly need it to make it through.