Well, we are about eight weeks into the semester and I am ready for a break. This “balanced” calendar thing really has me bamboozled. It is September 22, and we are eight weeks in! Are you kidding me????
Oh well, at least we are not alone. Many of the schools in our area joined this effort to simplify schedules for various reasons. I’m sure it does simplify some things. One thing I am sure it does not, would be the lack of a summer respite. Many of you I’m sure are saying, “Eight weeks off isn’t enough?” Coming from the outside and now looking out from the inside, I understand your comment. For the world of people out there who are not in the teaching profession, let me break down my summer for you.
So, school ended on June 3rd for us, but we had to make a day so we came back in the next Monday. Now, I get my grades in promptly, so I was pretty much done for the year at that point. I spent a day or two getting my room cleaned up and organized, and then I left for “summer” break. I spent a week or two enjoying my family and traveling a bit, not really anything too exciting.
Now before we left for break, I had new computers added to my classroom. I would be teaching the same software, but a newer version…five years newer, so there were some rather big changes. So, around June 29th, I was back in the classroom, working up about thirty projects that my students complete during a semester. I have to create them using the new version of software, so I know that what I am asking of the students, can actually be done by the students.
I also picked up a new course that I would be teaching so I needed to get some ideas together for how that would look in the classroom. That didn’t go too well, as I am on my third different text, eight weeks in. But, nonetheless, I did spend the better part of two weeks of my summer break, creating new material and lessons.
I also am the leader of the Freshmen Orientation program that we have here, so I had been working on the scheduling of that for those first two weeks as well. We had our first training day for Mentors on the 13th of July. After that, I was in and out of my classroom daily until August 1st, when we started back.
Don’t get me wrong…I am not trying to be the patron saint of hard working teachers. I know we get the extra three day in the fall and the extra week of spring break. Frankly, I found one week of spring break a good enough time to recharge and I really can’t afford to vacation for two weeks anyway. I am just pointing out, that while this calendar may look balanced to some, I find it to be something that tends to make me lose my balance more often than not.
Conceptually, it may look good. But do we really need to keep the kids in the classroom from August 1st to June 1st? And who says this is where it ends. Soon we may find ourselves starting school in Mid-July and ending in mid-June. Twenty years ago, who thought we would be looking at the schedule we are today? Just my two cents.
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