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Leaving the Classroom Episode 2: The Myths of Summers Off

#becomeaninstructionaldesigner #instructionaldesign #leaving the classroom podcast #summersoff #teacherperks #themythofsummersoff Mar 14, 2023

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

The Myths of Summers Off Episode 2 

Most teachers feel summers off is one of the best perks of teaching and can’t imagine giving it up. It is also quite nice to have the same schedule as your kids to be able to take family vacations together. This was one of my biggest worries too when I thought about leaving the classroom. In this episode, I talk about why I don’t miss summers off, or any other teacher ‘perk.’

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Enjoy the podcast transcription:  

Hello, everyone. Welcome to leaving the classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. Today I'm answering one of the top questions I get about leaving the classroom. Don't you miss having summers off?

Now, I don't know about you. But when I was teaching, I would literally have a countdown on my whiteboard stating how many days were left until the next holiday or even the next three day weekend. In fact, most teachers feel summers off is one of the best perks of teaching and can't imagine giving it up. It is also quite nice to have the same schedule as your kids to be able to take family vacations together.

But to be honest, this was one of my biggest worries too, when I thought about leaving the classroom, and well, there is a part of me that misses summers and winter break and summer break. But do you know why it doesn't bother me? Because I'm no longer working for the weekend. I no longer count down the days until the next school break. I no longer dread Mondays. So why don't I miss it? Because I love my job. Because I can still take the summer off if I really want to. Because my work is exciting and fun and valuable.

Listen, having summers off is a myth that is parroted to teachers over and over to make you feel like your jobs are so plush. It's the same argument I used to hear from my non teacher friends who would say you don't even work a full day, you get to leave at three. And honestly I held on to that and in some ways came to believe it myself as a mantra that kept me going. But the truth is that teachers work longer days than most 40 hour jobs. They spend their own money on basic supplies and barely get a break to eat lunch, let alone use the restroom during a typical day.

So do I miss summers off? No. I also don't miss retraining my bladder to last hours before finally getting a bathroom break. I don't miss making sub plans whenever I want to take a day off because I'm sick or heaven forbid need a mental health day. I don't miss standing at yard duty instead of getting a five to 10 minute break from having 30 plus students to care for and wrangle. But the truth is, I don't miss any part of being a teacher. Because the parts that I enjoyed the most, I've found a way to incorporate into my new career.

As a teacher I loved being organized and I could manage a roster of 150 students, multiple subjects and endless lesson plans. Well now I'm a program manager overseeing five global projects affecting 10s of 1000s of learners each year. As a teacher, I was highly efficient with my time well because I had to be. Now that efficiency serves me well as I finished multiple projects on time or early and I'm able to produce more than many of my peers in a short amount of time. As a teacher, I love serving students and seeing their aha moments and hearing from them later on after they left my class and hear about their successes. Well now I'm a mentor for IDOL courses Academy and I help hundreds of teachers and other professionals harness their undervalued skills and translate them to instructional design and online learning careers.

You see, teachers hang on to summers off and being done by three because there are so many other parts that are so terrible. This week, I've got a top 10 for you. Here are the top 10 reasons I don't miss being a teacher. Number 10 signing up for Special Duties, activities and committees. It isn't enough that teachers work more than a 40 hour work week just to do the regular jobs. But they are required to sign up for ancillary duties like chaperoning dances working Saturday school detention, standing or recess, bus duty, all the duties.

Number nine, the politics. The politics of education basically can be boiled down to the fact that everything gets blamed on the teachers, period.

Number eight, feeling the need to perform every day. When you're a teacher you have to be on pretty much all the time. Keeping the interest of 35 students with different backgrounds home lives learning needs was impossible. But dang if I didn't give it my best shot every day. And it's a lot.

Number seven micromanagement we had to turn in our daily lesson plans class walkthroughs explaining every move you make. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

Number six parent teacher conferences. Oh Ah, for me, it was the signup sheet and the no shows. And of course the parents you really needed to talk to didn't even come.

Number five, planning pee breaks. Can anyone relate? Do you always have to pee right at 1043? I mean, it's a real thing, right? Well, guess what? I pee when I want to now.

Number four sub plans. Okay, sub plans have left some major scars on my heart. Okay, the stress of last minute sub plans will haunt me until my dying day. The anxiety the whole day you're gone wondering if the sub followed the plans or if the kids are destroying the room drying out your whiteboard markers. Oh, the whiteboard marker fetishes we have as teachers to my right.

Number three, classroom management. Oh, I have a physical reaction to those words. I actually excelled at classroom management, though I had some skills in that area. But good classroom management is exhausting. I never sat down all day. I had kids in my class the entire day, even during my breaks so that I could deal with classroom management issues. This is one of the most underrated stressors on teachers.

Number two, grading homework or any work. I gotta be honest, I started throwing away most things right around your 10. But before that I graded every single thing. My kids had interactive notebooks I would grade 150 of those a couple of times each quarter exhausting. Now I'm the parent that throws away all the graded work that the teacher sends home. Just send me the tests and projects so I can monitor but I don't need every single paper my kid touches to be sent home who's with me? Anyone? All right, here we go.

Number one, the number one reason I do not miss leaving the classroom, questioning teachers as professionals. And this comes from both admin and parents. The teacher is always the first to get blamed. Period doesn't matter what it is. Are there kids that are failing your class? Must be because he doesn't like you and doesn't respond well to you. Miss Oliva must be that your lessons aren't engaging Miss Oliva must be that you have poor classroom management Miss  Oliva. Or maybe it's because he stays away later than a child in middle school should playing video games. Or maybe he had hot Cheetos for breakfast. So his brain isn't ready to learn today. Or maybe it's because he's reading two or three grade levels below where he should be so he can't keep up. Or maybe he slept in a car last night. Or maybe he has an undiagnosed learning disability. Or maybe he just doesn't care.

Well, I'd love to hear your top 10 lists what makes your list you can email me your stories at [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram @leavingtheclassroom. This is Kristi Oliva. See you next time. That's all for this episode, but you can find more at idle or subscribe to the podcast. And if you are ready to leave the classroom, use my code CLASSROOM100 And get $100 off enrollment to IDOL courses Academy.