People like to say some really ignorant things about teachers, but perhaps none is more common than "it must be great to have summers off." Summer break for me really just means a slightly different work schedule. I do get to sleep in by about an hour more, and I admit that is really nice. Rather than rising at four in the morning to begin my day, I get up at five. Having had the privilege of knowing students that get up before three in the morning to cross the border and attend school, I consider myself quite lucky.
It's been quite a while since I wrote in this space, and even longer since I did so with regularity. The past academic year has been one of the busiest I've had in over a decade, but I made it through—I read countless books and articles, completed programs and projects (albeit with a few delays), and ended the school year in quite a satisfying fashion. As the year drew to a close, exhaustion setting in, the success stories far outweighed any shortcomings. I had many students offer their gratitude, but none was so wonderful as the student that wrote I had helped her grow in confidence when dealing with and addressing her peers' abelism.
With a few months where my days are less dominated by a bell schedule, I'm working hard to complete my dissertation. It keeps spiraling out of control because there's just so much I want to say about the authors, the theme's they're writing about, and the question of the animal in general. I'm also working a lot on some curriculum planning for the next year. I'm not even certain I'll end up back in the same position, but working on lesson and unit plans helps keep me thinking critically about how to best support and encourage students regardless of my eventual class setting or composition.
The summer is shaping up to be a wonderfully productive time. While many may think the summer for a teacher is free time, a few months spent dawdling and daydreaming, my experience has been far from that. It is a time to prepare, to educate ourselves, to set all of the many pieces in play before the start of the school year so that the kids, young adults, and professionals that walk into our classrooms have a teacher ready and capable to facilitate their hopes and dreams, be they as short-term as a class grade or as far-reaching as changing the world.