Thoughts for Teachers During the Summer
Summer is here, you’re done worrying about lesson plans, hall and cafeteria duties, recess, discipline forms, faculty meetings, grading papers, and other people’s children. Now it’s time to put on your shorts, go to the pool, and not care about anything for three months. WRONG!
You’re a teacher, a public servant, someone’s tax dollars pay for your lifestyle. Just like a politician, in this day and age, everywhere you go you have a target on your back. That target could be legal because a family has a problem with your district, or just a punching bag target for an unhappy citizen or a newscaster to show their opinion, valid or not.
I am teacher just like you. I know that we aren’t getting paid to sit around all summer. In the summer we get our back pay that we allowed the district to hold, free of interest. But that doesn’t matter to anyone else.
You dedicated your life to making other people’s kids succeed, and then when you get time to worry about your own life you get criticized. But that is where we are in society. That is part of the job, take it or leave it.
So the question is what are you going to do? Grow a hard heart and join the league of people who are teachers only because their job title dictates it, or will you be a teacher because you were born to make your city, country, and world a better place.
During the school year you can spend hours in your faculty room talking about the many “if only” statements:
- If only the school board wouldn’t have cut my budget, I could be a good teacher.
- If only the principal would have given me a better schedule, I could be a good teacher.
- If only those parents would make their children listen, I would have a good class.
- If only the kids would work harder, our test scores would be better.
How about this statement, “If only I would have the courage to take responsibility and do everything I can to make my class work, I could be a great teacher.” I doubt you have ever heard someone say that last statement in the faculty room.
I had a professor that taught a class called American Education in Theory & Practice in college. He was an older professor who was very entertaining. One day he asked the class, “Whose fault is it if you get an F in a class but your professor’s an a******?”
The class had its say with each side arguing its point on why it was the student’s fault versus the professor’s fault. He stopped the discussion and proclaimed, “It was your fault if you get an F in a class.”
Regardless of the argument he received, he would counter with a statement that began with, “You didn’t....” He was exactly right, no matter what happens, if you don’t do what you are supposed to do, you will fail.
Now that it’s the summertime as you enjoy your hard earned time don’t write your calling as a teacher off. Don’t wait until the school year starts to ask, “If Only” and then shrug your shoulders when there is not easy answer. If you were really born to be a teacher, you would want to be the best teacher you can be regardless of what season it is.
Start now, in the summer to solve your problems before they happen. Don’t act like the students you loath who only do their homework is class time is given. Your administration, school board, students and their parents could all be a*******, but what can you do to make sure that you are a successful teacher?
If you have those answers, the targets painted on you will be harder to hit by those taking aim; especially in the summer when it seems like we stop becoming moving targets and float around a pool like ducks on a pond.
A veteran educator and musician, B.C. Tozer is also the author of Scales for Band: Major and Minor. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Education program at California University of Pennsylvania. Tozer is also a member of the National Association for Music Education, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, Co-Treasure of the Somerset County Band Association, and a member of the National Education Association. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Southwestern, PA.
His new book, The Four C's of Successful Teaching: Consistency, Contingency, Compassion and Courage, empowers readers to take control of their teaching situation, take ownership of their actions and align the results with success for themselves, for the community and their students. The Four C’s of Successful Teaching is available for purchase at Amazon.com, as well as other online booksellers.