Many of my non-teaching friends use my summer vacation as “conversation starters”.
“Hey Albert, when are you off for the summer? Isn’t it coming soon? Looking forward to it, right?” (This would start earlier than you think. I may or may not have heard this during Thanksgiving one year)
“Are you doing anything exciting this summer, since you’ll be off work?” (Anytime when the temperature outside is above 20oC)
“When is summer vacation over? Are you ready to go back yet?” (This comes as soon as “Back to School” ads are on, which for some reason starts in the middle of July)
When I was younger, just to rub it in, I would say things like, “My summers are too long, I have no idea what to do.”, or “I wish I could hang out with you guys, but you’re all working”, and my personal favorite, “It’s really tough to fit in all 3 meals a day because I often wake up after lunch.”
These days, I just smile and nod, try to say as little as possible when the subject comes up. I don’t mind it anymore, but the follow-up statement is the one that still gets to me.
“I wish I was a teacher so I could get the summers off.”
I want to say to them, “Do you also wish to be a hockey player so you could get free veneers?”, or “Don’t forget Christmas and March Break!”, but mostly I just want to change the subject before saying something I’ll regret later.
Do they see me as a lazy person who took this job only for the perks? Maybe they dislike their job so they’re envious of mine. After 9 years I’ve learned that it comes with the territory. Teaching is a unique and complex profession. Most people think they know what it is, because they have the experience of being in a classroom with their teacher. But there’s so much more to what you see! (This will be the theme of my blog)
If you’re a teacher, I’m sure you’ve encountered the “summer conversation” before. I need a phrase to combat “I wish I had my summers off” without ending friendships and losing family members and/or spouses. A short, preferably clean come back for all teachers. Something like this when anyone bugs you about telling the truth. I don’t know, “You can’t handle the summer!” ? I hope you can come up with something better. Let’s get it done.
Teaching, for the most part, is fun. It’s challenging, some days are draining, but it can also be exhilarating. I love being a teacher, and not because I get my summers off.
Having said that, is it too much to ask for another few weeks?