>It happens every, single summer. It is almost to the point where I cannot go out between the hours of 9 and 5 for fear that the little old lady behind me in line will bring it up. I’m patronized. Ridiculed. Made to feel as if I were a perpetual college student whose mommy and daddy foot the bill for elaborate vacations in the Hamptons, which is obviously why I can’t work during the summer. For readers who have been following me for some time, this is old hat. I’m a teacher. There are things that, I’ve only this year allowed myself to admit, that I love about the job. I love watching kids realize that you actually give a crap about their lives. I love hearing kids talk about my class in the hallway. I love their dirty jokes. I love teaching Shakespeare, moving my desks in a circle and watching them perform a language they never knew they were able to understand. I love all of the letters I got at the end of the year telling me that I was “the shit”. I love the kids who fought me tooth and nail to hand in a stickin’ piece of homework. I love the prom pictures. I love the break-ups. I love the get-back-togethers the next day. I love making loud, obnoxious “EWWWWWWWW” noises when I find them making out in the stairwell. I love hearing their stories, their complaints, their victories, their defeats. That being said, (and this is most certainly not directed at those of you who read this since you are an articulate, well-educated bunch) there are things about this job that irk me to high heavens, and really, it’s mostly the people who, for some reason, don’t believe it’s a real one.
Yup. Ok. We get two months off. I’m not writing it off, nor am I complaining. I think it’s fantastic. However, just a few things to bear in mind for those who scoff at teachers across the board.
1. Technically speaking, we work 12 months just like everyone else. 10 months are spent working like a dog in the classroom, 2 months are spent working to forget everything that happened in those 12 months so we can actually return.
2. I would gladly trade my “10 month” job for a position in which I could get up and pee whenever necessary. Urinary infections get old and expensive. Don’t be fooled- our healthcare is not what it used to be.
3. At no time during 7 am and 4 pm can I close my door, make a phone call, give a hug, say a curse word, listen to music, check my e-mail, smile without consequence, drink some coffee or SIT DOWN. That leather office chair must be nice.
4. I would welcome a 45 minute meeting with 5, obstinate adults who make rational decisions over 5, 45 minute classes with 25-plus irrational teenagers. At least adults’ll bring you donuts and pretend that they are listening to what you have to say.
5. I am more concerned about the state of my classroom and am more behind if I take a sick day than I ever was before I ever needed a sick day.
6. Lastly, for those from the “teacher’s teach because they weren’t smart or ambitious enough to pursue what they really wanted”camp- we are present in school for 10 months, but still get paid a full year’s salary. Please tell me, who’s smarter again?
So, don’t ask teachers if they’re working during summer. Don’t joke about all the time off they have. How lucky they are to have such an easy job. How it’s the Best Job on Earth. If it was, then you’d be doing it too.