Vacations, however, can be a nice perk. Since I'm on vacation, I've been thinking a lot about what vacation does for teachers.
People who don't teach often remark that teachers get "so much" vacation. What people who don't teach don't know is that by the time we get to our vacations, we are limping to the finish line. As teachers, we are "on" ALL the time - 5 days a week, many hours every day. Teachers often get to leave at 3 PM, but many of us take hours of unfinished work home. It is a job that never ends, much like parenting. Our job can be inflexible and relentless. You can't decide your hours will be 7-3 one day and 9-4 the next; you can't ever work from home. You can't decide to take vacation in September. You have to be physically there. if your class was atrocious on Monday, you still have to show up on Tuesday. You have to start over each day.
Besides the fact that teachers need their time off to take care of things they never have time to take care of - haircuts, dentist and doctor appointments, and so on - we need this time to reflect, process, and renew. We need to forget about school in order to go back to school.
Any anyway - most teachers I know do some kind of paid work in the summer. I can't remember the last time I had the whole summer "off".
Personally, I seem to get sick at the beginning of my vacations. It's as if my body holds out as long as it can, so I can push through the days, until it can't go anymore. And then I crash. I spent the first 5 days of this winter vacation in bed with the flu. On the plus side, I got through most of the first 3 seasons of Scandal.
I hope that this vacation brings my colleagues some much-needed relaxation, down time, family time, think-about-nothing time, or time to do the things they enjoy outside of school. Now that I feel better, I have been getting my house in order (though it never lasts), seeing friends, spending time with my kids, and trying to not think about the fact that school starts again on Monday.
Here's to a Happy 2015 to everyone, and a peaceful and positive remainder of the school year to my amazing colleagues. I hope the vacation renews you - because we still have a loooong way to go.