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Monday, June 6, 2016

"Oh, you have summers off!"

Teachers hear the phrase escape lips every summer, "Oh, you have summers off!" Most of the general public have no idea what teachers do in the summer. There's activities to design, lesson plans to write, professional development to attend, summer school to teach...

First, many teachers must teach summer school to financially make ends meet. Lack of pay raises, decreasing benefits, higher retirement contributions, increasing healthcare costs (sometimes as high as $600.00 per month), along with crippling student loans for five-year teacher education programs in some states, has forced many teachers to take on extra after school duties and part-time jobs during the school year then teach additional classes in the summer. These overloads result in teacher burnouts and early retirements that lead to shortages and lack of highly qualified professionals in classrooms. But, that's only one duty teachers take on in the summer...

It seems as if every year there's a new quick-fix curriculum or better standards being touted! Some of these may work, but many times there is no one fix for classroom learning and management. Instead, teachers often spend their summers re-building their curriculum to meet new guidelines and to better engage students. Designing and/or finding excellent resources takes lots of time, and all materials must be aligned to constantly changing local, district, state, and federal standards. 

Go ahead, you non-teachers, and give lesson writing a try--put together an active learning, engaging, real life connected lesson plan that addresses low, middle, high, accelerated, gifted, English language learners, and special populations learning levels. Be sure to include outcomes and objectives that match, too! Then, write a lesson plan for every day you teach and for every class taught each day. Teachers can have as many as seven different classes in one day--that's 1,302 lesson plans per year!

Then, there's professional development that must be completed in order to remain certified to teach. It occurs on specific days at certain times only, so be prepared to rearrange your summer schedule for these courses. Otherwise, you'll be out of a teaching job the next school year. And, these aren't always free, either. Travel costs may or may not be paid by districts depending upon state funding and budget cuts. 

Okay, so I admit that my, and other teachers, summer is not all work and no play... But, the average number of hours teachers work daily during a school year can far exceed that of many other professions. 

By the way, I can't leave out that we have one of the most important jobs in society: teachers are in charge of molding and shaping the world's most precious resource--our children.  

Summer Freebies from Educator Helper TpT Storefront:

Click for complete lesson plan: Dog Walk Math!

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