I am sure some readers of my previous post said, “Wait a minute! You’re a teacher! ”
Yes, I am on the school schedule and I do get an unusual amount of vacation time. I work almost every hour of every day during long periods of the school year, but I enjoy summer, winter, and spring breaks. I also get federal holidays, or at least almost all of them, although I usually work at home during those federal holidays, relieved to stay in my pajamas and catch up on my data-related paperwork.
A great perk of teaching, the school schedule allows for parenting and vacation time. Education contracts support maternity leaves. Our contracts understand that mothers may need to be home with sick children. Those contracts even understand that fathers may need to be home with sick children. (Obviously, frequent absences are disruptive to students’ educations, so absences are generally discouraged. Teachers don’t get time off during the school year, except for reasons such as bereavement, jury duty, and professional development, with a couple of “personal days” as part of the standard contract. We use personal and sick days to manage our own sick kids.)
For accuracy’s sake, I’d like to observe that the teaching year is not always the party it’s cracked up to be. All my young colleagues are teaching summer school right now, or taking classes to add endorsements or certifications to their state approvals, or looking for work. They may be doing all three at once. They also have various district workshops scheduled during the middle of this summer and, while these are not required, the district will be taking note of those who attend and do not attend.
I lucked out, though. I married a financial analyst, so I did not have to worry about the rent or mortgage when I took summer off. I stayed home with the kids when they were growing up. I took classes for fun, not to add to my income. I’ve always taken classes for fun and I have a ridiculous number of endorsements. At this point, I joke that I’m qualified to teach almost everything except Etruscan pottery.
I have been chronicling struggles in the current educational system. We have reached a point where good intentions are producing a baffling amount of sheer craziness, but I will say that teaching can be a great mom or dad job for many people. Teachers may end up living in smaller houses, but they are likely to snag the best seats on the field at their kids’ soccer and softball games.