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Teachers' Incredibly Shrinking Summer Break

Memorial Day Weekend Special: A Washington Post article reports on the apparent gradual erosion of the teaching profession's most envied perk—the summer break. With the nation's economy still staggering and promised salary increases on hold, the article says, many teachers opt to take seasonal jobs, continue working second jobs, or teach summer school in order to stay afloat. Some also seek to bolster their prospects for those supposed salary increases by taking courses toward advanced degrees or special credentials. Then there are the ever-present—and, the unions point out, sometimes unpaid—lesson-planning duties, staff training activities, review sessions, and curriculum-development projects. "I wouldn't trade anything for summer," says one teacher quoted in the story. "But by the time I come back for the first day of school, I feel like I need a vacation."

Which, of course, may be a problem down the line: A principal quoted notes that, despite the pressures and continuing responsibilities they face, it's important for teachers try to maintain a balance and to take some time during the summer to refresh. "You can absolutely tell on the first day of school who has had a good summer and who hasn't," he says.

What's your plan? What does the summer break for today's teachers look like?

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