It Happened Again: Why Teachers Having the Summer off is Not us Being “Entitled”

Sigh it happened again. I made a little wistful comment and suddenly… Bam! I’m a brat. But my question is, why do we as educators take flack for this CONSTANTLY.

What am I talking about?

Summer “Vacation.”

In my country, the USA we teachers at public schools work for 10 months of the year. We receive around 8 or 9 weeks “off,” in the eyes of the general public during the hottest months of the year. The kids go home and so do the teachers.

Let’s take away the summer jobs and workdays, and any professional development someone may have during the summer (Which is, by the way a separate check because check out the next truth bomb…) teachers are unemployed during the summer.

Yes, you read that right. Teachers are unemployed during the summer. We don’t get summer off we are unemployed.

It’s always been this way

Why? Well there aren’t any kids to teach so, we have to go home. It’s like any seasonal job. A friend of my husband’s works lawn care up north. In November, December, January, and February sometimes he is “laid off” from his job. It’s hard to do lawn care in the snow.

It’s hard to teach kids at their houses over the summer.

“But what about the paychecks?” Well check this, most teachers allow the government to hold a portion of each check they earn for each of the ten months that they are physically working. Those two months off we don’t get “paid,” we get the money we allotted to be set aside returned to us.

I’m not working for free, I earned this cash. Last year.

A lot of teachers have contracts for a certain number of years they are employed. If you work where I do, I sign a contract from August to June. That’s it. Effectively I am fired every year and if I get a contract before I leave that school year I have be rehired.

No joke.

I am contracted on a year by year basis. Thank God I do my job and I do it well.

Now. Why do kids need summer break? Why not make us work 12 months a year? Since everyone has such problems with our summers off?

How do your kids feel at the end of the school year? Tired? Drained? Worn out? Disheartened? Or maybe they are excited. Ready for the year to be done. Happy to move on.

Why can children feel this and adults cannot? Teachers may love their jobs but we can get worn out too. When we aren’t working it’s not us sitting by the pool everyday throwing our money around like ballers. We are taking time for self care, doctors appointments, spending time with our own children whom we like you have seen 4 hours a evening then they sleep, and a hour or two in the morning. I miss my son and like you, I have to work. I need to be with my family too.

But I think the worst part is when, we say things like, “ahhh summer is almost over… 😮” and people jump on us like we said we support slavery and abolishing the constitution… and while the USA may seem to be favoring deviant thoughts lately, trust me having feelings about summer doesn’t make us evil.

It makes us human. I know teachers aren’t allowed to be human but unfortunately the system is flawed and until we are all replaced with AIs well, I guess you’re stuck with us.

So we aren’t “lucky,” we weren’t “granted a paid vacation,” and unless you signed a contract you are NOT GUARANTEED a job every year at the end of the school year. We have unpaid summers. It’s apart of our job description, much like your job descriptions are specialized for what you do.

Please stop riding our butts about ours. Let us be human and say things like, “gosh the summer is almost over, *sigh*” and commiserate with us… after all, we will be teaching your kids soon and if summer made you batty well… think of 10 months 8 to 12 hours a day for us. (And yes we all love our children! Biological and otherwise! You can still love someone and need time away from them!)

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