When I was a younger teacher, I considered getting a job at a department store during the summer months to make more money. I never did it. My closest brush with retail came during the summer of my sophomore year at Texas A&M University. I worked at Toys “R” Us as a cashier for four weeks. One night they gave me a cart full of items and told me to restock it (put it back) in fifteen minutes. I was dumbfounded because I’d never walked the store aisles to acquaint myself with merchandise. I concluded that this was not what I wanted to do, so I left soon after. I began my first teaching post in Abilene ISD and went through my entire tenure there as a traveling teacher. This means I didn’t have a classroom of my own; I used a cart to carry my supplies. The end of the year arrived, and either a memor was sent or posted to alert us about teaching summer school. I declined the offer and spent my time with my family and friends enjoying a schedule of my own. I jealously guard my summers for family time and attend professional development workshops as required and desired. I consider myself a life-long learner, so I usually enjoy finding out about something new-to-me in education.
We are asked to complete twelve non-contract hours of staff development in our district. I usually exceed that amount and attempt to complete my requirements as soon as possible at the beginning of the summer. Some of my newly former students fill my mind and cause me to reflect on how I could approach things differently. It helps. I also see the wisdom of waiting until later in the summer so that my new knowledge will be fresher in my mind.
My family is but one of my main motivating factors to take my professional development seriously. I look forward to time with my guys–my husband and son–and just hanging out with them. When I complete my courses, I can relax and go on Sonic drink runs or watch an entertaining television program. I am selfish about my time with them and do not feel repentant at all for my attitude. My summers are my own; however, it could be good to work with curriculum writing or remediating students who need that extra little dose of TLC.
This summer is my first one as a rising high school band mom. I will be getting my son to and from band camp in late July and early August, so I’ve delayed some of my classes to coincide with his schedule. It just so happens that his school is hosting the summer staff developments this year. I will enjoy that time in the car together talking about our respective days and what we’ve learned as I have done for the past seven years. Next time, I’ll visit with you about protocol for professional development. More anon.