Opening Statement



Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Teacher Summer Holidays

Happy summer holidays! Here I am. I slept in until 9:30 am after staying up late. I am sitting on my condo balcony overlooking the Humber Valley. It is very lush and green. The temperature is in the thirties. I am still in my pyjamas, and I really don't have anything I have to do today.

Allow me to explain my summer holidays as a teacher. I am off nine weeks until Labour Day. I do not have to work. I get paid, in the case of our school board with one lump check at the end of June. I don't have to do anything. Some teachers take upgrading courses, even teach summer school. I use to when I first started out. Now I don't. I've been teaching  26 years and I am well on top of things. My high school classes are going great, the students are happy, and I love being with them, except in the summer, when their parents can spend some quality time with them instead. Maybe they have summer jobs or go to summer school. 


I feel no guilt. I will relax at home and round about my hometown of Toronto doing Toronto things like I have most of my life. I was born here. I've moved around but always come back. I plan to stay here, in our condo, with my wife, and maybe even die here someday, hopefully not too soon, in the music room or wherever.


This summer I will travel with her to Mexico, where we will lie on a beach, and I will snorkel and dive with the fish. We plan to explore the Maya ruins. I plan to go to Cuba for a week, where I will do some volunteer educational development work, and perhaps teach or attend a class each day to see how our programs are working out. Also I will just hang out with my local Cuban friends and enjoy everyday life there for a bit.


For our honeymoon, which also falls in the summer, Janet and I will go away somewhere. Maybe back to the beach if we can find a last minute deal at some nice sun destination. Or we will go somewhere else; we've been to Las Vegas and New York the past two years.


I do not feel any guilt about not working at all. Here is why: My yearly salary is cut all year so it averages out to pay for the summer holidays.I have worked for this holiday teaching your children and being with them every school day from September until now. Then there's the hours and hours of paperwork and meetings.


I am a trained professional, like a doctor, lawyer or engineer. It took a lot of work and study to get where I am today and I do a lot for the students. Maybe they are your sons or daughters. Maybe you can remember having a good teacher who really helped you?


It's a very special trust. It has been said that when we teach, we touch the future, for indeed someday they will grow up and carry on with life long after we are gone. At the very least we will hopefully help our students grow up to be happy, well adjusted people. We can help them prepare to get a job and be good citizens. We can teach  them a set of religious values if they go to a religious school, of which there are many, or some other sort of values education if they don't, so they hopefully become compassionate, caring and upstanding adults someday. Nothing is ever perfect, but quite frankly, we all do a darn good job of making a big difference in peoples' lives, hopefully quite a few.


As a teacher, I am a public employee, in our case with the provincial government. Our job, salary and benefits can be a political football folks love to kick around especially come contract and election time, where the powers that be can and will say whatever they like about us if they think it will help get them elected. Or if need be we provide an easy scapegoat for societies economic ills. If you have half a brain about the current economic crisis you can do the math. It did not occur nor will it go away because teachers are paid too much, get too many holidays, or belong to a union. You need look no further than the stock markets, the politicos, banks and corporations for the cause of that if you are mad and need to vent. Don't blame me.


As a trained professional I am one of the least paid in all the fields. I am obviously not in this for big bucks, but in Canada anyway, I can enjoy my holidays. That is the trade off. I work my butt off all year helping your kids, who are my students. I will return to school in the fall ready to do it again, just like I always have most of my working life, after years of university, summer courses and night school education and training. Really, you get more than you pay for but I am happy enough with the time off. Personally time is worth more than money to me and I am really looking forward to the summer holidays, and know I have earned them.


Hello summer! If you like what you read, please continue to visit my blog while my summer tale unfolds. If not, well you can still visit to grit your teeth and go grrr! grrr!  I'm ambivalent. I've been real busy and am quite drained from teaching your sons and daughters, your nephews and nieces. If you don't care about that, well once there were teachers who also cared for you. Maybe you had a bad teacher or school, very unfortunate. It can happen. Or maybe you didn't want to listen, talk and learn. Ditto. These are the sad exceptions to the rule but they can happen like anything else in life. Any which way, please continue to visit and enjoy. Comments can always be posted, pro or con, as long as they are constructive, because that's the teacher in me. Enjoy!



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