June marks the end of my 27th year as an educator, twelve years as a teacher and fifteen as an administrator. Even with all of those years behind me, I remain highly optimistic about the importance and impact of public education. This optimism comes from the gift of seeing children grow every day and every school year.
It is humbling and inspiring to watch a kindergarten child go from learning to recognize the letters of the alphabet to reading grade level passages in a 10 month time span. As our fifth graders prepare for middle school, I think about how much progress they have made during their time in elementary school.
How can one not be positive when they have the opportunity to observe first-hand all of the great things that happen in an elementary school? I wish public school reformers and critics had the chance to see the miracles that teachers perform on a daily basis. Educators bear all of the responsibility and rarely get the credit they deserve for the incredible job they do. With that in mind, here is my summer wish list for teachers:
- family time
- a good book (of your choosing)
- time in the sun with your feet in the sand
- a roller coaster ride
- peace and quiet
- a long walk with someone special
- a foot massage from a professional
- an out-of-town trip
- a good meal cooked by someone else
- _____________________________(add your own)
Teachers need the summer to rejuvenate and prepare for the next school year. If you see a teacher over the summer, smile and say hello, but don’t ask them if they enjoy having their summers off. We know they are never really “off” of work. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do, then let them rejuvenate in peace.