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Lessons of Summer


Renee Moore, a member the Teacher Leaders Network, says you can gauge a teacher's level of professional engagement by his or her answer to the question, "What you are you doing this summer."


We're encouraging teachers to upgrade their skills on preventing school violence. We actually have a quick test teachers can take to see if they know what they need to about preventing extreme violence. The test is included in the article we just sent to the teachers who subscribe to our internet magazine, "The Problem Student Problem-Solver". The article is called "Why Do Some Students Become Violent?
The Answer Can Prevent a Tragedy." We think finding a few hours this summer to learn the mental health basics of violence is the most important summer activity that a teacher could do this year. That article is posted here:

click here to read or print it.

I would hope that doesn't imply that a teacher who isn't involved in some sort of professional development during the summer isn't a dedicated teacher? I overbook myself all school year and go non-stop so that I can take the summer and just enjoy being "Mom." I am a much better teacher for it in the fall. Teachers are expected to be some super-human beings without possibility for parole. During the school year, we are on 24/7. It is important to remember other important things/people in your life and that will not make you any less of a professional when school starts back in the fall.


I totally agree with you. During the school year I go to as many football, volleyball, basketball games, chorus concerts, parent nights, what have you. Since my husband teaches at a different school, sometimes we don't see each other till Saturday. The past two years my daughter's been at my school, so our schedules have been together, but I am worried about how I can manage this when school starts and she enters high school. How can I particpate in activities at my school and also go watch her at her school events?

What does "professional engagement" mean anyway? Signing up to take the irrelevant workshops offered in the summer to earn an extra $12 an hour? I am thinking of going for the National Board Certification just to get an extra $4000 a year, but I think its a bunch of crap that they want you to write and what other profession expects so much for so little? Some of the Board Certified teachers I know have absolutely no sense of what is going on in the school or in their own classroom, but they were articulate and mangaged to pull it together for this test. Grrrrr....

Spankie--I feel for you, but what you are describing is what non-teaching parents typically face, without the summer-time to recoup.

As a social worker, no one pays me $12 per hour to pick up the CEUs that are required to keep my license. Nor is there any path I can take to guarantee an additional $4 grand per year. As it happens, I am working on an advanced degree. I can get a bit of support from my employer for tuition, the rest comes from loans that I hope I can pay off before I retire. It may pay off in a bigger salary, but only if I can move into a better position as a result. The time that goes into it--evenings, weekends and holidays is mine (and my family's).

I am not one to complain that teachers are overpaid. But teachers are going to have to gain some cognizance that they are in roughly the same boat, or better, than many other under-recognized professionals and/or employees. Think about health care professionals at various levels (they are certainly not all doctors), early childhood professionals (who have professional training requirements, work longer hours, frequently don't have summers off and are paid much less), social workers and mental health workers (who make less and work in more volatile conditions). That's not even to mention the parents of some of your students who are working at low-skilled, low-paid positions.

It's hard to feel for the plight of teachers when they are so unfeeling with regard to the rest of the community--particularly parents.

You sound like you had a bad experience with a teacher, A Parent, and are projecting it to all teachers.

I agree with you about many social workers, I have some relatives in the business with Masters degrees. They seem to have many of the same issues teachers have. When I got my masters degree I paid for it totally out of my own pocket. The $12 an hour is new this year, until this year it was only $7 an hour. Two of my aunts set up private counseling services when they got their masters in social work, so you certainly can make a bit more money.

I don't agree about the various health care professionals. Think about the schooling involved. The ones with 4 or 6 years of college are doing quite well for themselves. The ones who are more poorly paid are the aides, LPN's, and nurses with out degrees. Same with "early childhood professionals"--most just have a certificate without a 4 year college degree.

I just don't get where you are coming from with the last comment about teachers being unfeeling. That's totally false. I work at a school with very low income parents--in order to entice parents to come to conferences we have offered Family Nights--with a free dinner for the WHOLE FAMILY!! Only 8 families showed for this, not counting the teachers. The time was set up to be a time most parents could attend, after work hours.

What do you mean by "unfeeling" anyway?

I have to say I take offense at your remark against teachers. I am a dedicated professional through out the school year. I arrive at school at 7am even though students don't arrive until 8:15. I am on committees and curriculum development boards, lead an after school homework club, co-lead with my team a Medieval Faire after school club. Most days I don't leave my school until 5:00pm or later. I go back for spelling bees, concerts and other. I try to attend student basketball and baseball games when I can. I am just fnishing my program to obtain my masters all while doing all this. I don't think choosing to recoop over the summer with no professional development is careless or lazy. It is the best thing I can do to ensure that my students next year have the best possible teacher they can have.
In other professions also, how many people have to drag themselves out of bed, sick or not, and get to their job to leave plans for someone else to carry through if they need a sick day? Or in order to attend professional development or in-school curriculum development, also must first leave a day's plans for someone to carry out? Not to mention, clean up after when they return. How many other professions bring their work home with them nightly and on weekends? I'm tired of the non-educational world dissing teachers because we have the summer off. 7 weeks with my family and no sub plans to write to have that time off is well deserved, thank you very much.

I'm with you, Froglady. I have spent summers teaching summer school to remedial students who needed it, gone to school to get/keep my credentials and so on. People get upset because they have 2 weeks for vacation instead of 7 weeks off. Well, I wonder if they bring work home with them, attend college and raise a family while working, or work at a job where you can't even go to the bathroom until you get a prep....which could be hours. And there is no down time at all, except for 45 minutes for lunch and prep...it is a high powered, non-stop job where you are constantly talking, walking, exhorting, thinking, evaluating on the spot, and keeping track of myriad details. NOT to mention the time spent at home planning and preparing (e.g., what's the best way to teach this?)lessons, marking papers and tests...
teachers don't just work from 8 to 3, but also on weekends and nights...and that doesn't cover committees, and parent night....need I say more? Imagine talking to 31 people all day long. It takes a special person to be a teacher, and we deserve the summer off.

A Parent,

I have to disagree with your comment on all teachers getting paid for their professional development. I don't get paid to further my hours while in school. I do manage to receive up to $1400 possible if the School Board & Superintendent approves for Graduate Studies. I have furthered my education on my own and on my own time. I am not only an educator but a scientist. I found that in the real world - I worked for DuPont - that I got reimbursed 100 percent for my graduate work if I passes with a "B" or better. I was sent to places as well as seminar, etc. to better myself through the company. The real world does value their employees. I also must keep up my Medical Technologist license on my own. The hospital does not reimburse me but does require that I maintain my certification in order to work, much like a Doctor or Nurse. So, I am not sure where many of you get your documentation but things vary from State to State let alone in a particular profession. How dare anyone say that teachers make more with added perks. Let's itemize the hours put in per teacher along with the salary and then compare. Once this is done in the real world of teaching and the corporate world will we be on the same playing field for salary comparison.


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  • DM: A Parent, I have to disagree with your comment on read more
  • Shelly: I'm with you, Froglady. I have spent summers teaching summer read more
  • Froglady: I have to say I take offense at your remark read more
  • spankie: You sound like you had a bad experience with a read more
  • A Parent: Spankie--I feel for you, but what you are describing is read more




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