#WhatSummerBreak: The Truth About Teachers’ “Summer Vacation”

We’re not eating bon bons by the pool.

Teachers' Summer Vacation

“At least you have summers off!” “Three whole months off, must be nice.” Even if you’re a brand new teacher, you’ve heard these comments over and over again. But the truth about teachers’ summer vacation is a little different. First, it’s rarely three months (most teachers we know are lucky to get two). And second, most educators invest a lot of that time back into their classrooms.

As teacher Jessica V. put in our WeAreTeachers Helpline group:

“Here’s what I’ve done so far with my ‘summer off’:

  • Unpaid planning with team or self for upcoming year: 15 hrs
  • Unpaid time creating resources for next school year: 17 hrs
  • Time spent at trainings/conferences to better my teaching practice: 48.5 hours
  • Second job: Teaching summer school (no I have not bought a boat~ Arizona teachers will understand this)
  • Professional books/journals/articles read: 3 hours
  • Personal funds spent for classrooms materials: $76 (this will go up substantially when the back to school sales begin)

What am I missing? What are your stats?”

And here’s how other teachers’ summer vacations look so far:

  • “We just started our summer a week and a half ago, but so far I’ve had a school leadership retreat that was three days long, and started reading a teacher book. Next week is a full week of training. I’ve got another training in July for three days, plus two days of travel. Most of my weeks will have a good chunk of time in school related pursuits. So much for ‘summers off!'” —Gail Y.
  • I’m up to 33 hours of professional development (as of today—I have nine more hours in July), one six-hour planning day with the grade level, and at least two days of work in my new classroom (almost everyone in the district had to move rooms). And one month left before school starts up again.” —Amanda D.
  • “I have 75+ hours of (unpaid) training this summer.” —Deborah H.
  • “We end school on June 28. I start summer school on July 5. We have orientation for summer school on June 29. I will be taking a couple of days off in the middle to plan and present some professional development to math teachers. I may be taking a new job in the fall, which would require some time to prepare for. I am trying to get an additional license, which requires studying and testing. I would also like to get my Google certification. In between, on Fridays, I am hoping to get in a few beach days, spend time with my daughter when she gets home from boot camp in early August (I hope), and taking a week off at the end before school starts up again after Labor Day.” —Susan M.

Indeed, the hashtag #whatsummerbreak has been trending across social media

As teachers attend professional development …

And conferences …

And make lesson plans for next year …

So many lesson plans …

So while we’d love to be at the beach, summer break’s got us like …