Forgive me if I've pontificated on this before, but it's something that is on my mind again as I sit exhausted.
This year, the state legislature, in an effort to "help" some of the districts on the coast whose counties benefit most from the tourism industry, mandated a late start date for every district in the state. Teachers in my district were originally supposed to report on July 30, with students returning on August 6. Instead, students across the state had to wait two more weeks. Great for them, right, because they got two more weeks of summer? Teachers reported on August 13. Great for us, because we had two more weeks of summer, too?
I say it again. NO!
This has not been a good thing. What this did for us was to take two weeks out of our school year. The end date is the same, so breaks were eliminated. Practically nonexistent.
We started August 20, and then got September 3 off for Labor Day. We have not had a break since. That was TWO months ago. Essentially, that's one whole grading period without a break. We'll have Veteran's Day off, and three days at Thanksgiving, six school days at Christmas, one workday before kids return after the holidays, MLK day immediately after that, Spring Break at the end of March (but not if we have bad weather days--then they'll take days away from Spring Break), and nothing else.
I'm exhausted. And I'm not the only one. Teachers at my school are taking personal and sick days (scheduling doctor's appointments during the school day) just to get a break. I can't afford to take any sick or personal days, because I might actually have to use them if Elsie and/or Oscar get sick. Last year, I was using them as fast as I was accumulating them (1 per month) when the kids got sick.
The trade-off for not having teacher work days or holidays built into the schedule (except for a paltry few--for which I am most thankful!) is that I'm having to use "home time" to finish school stuff, or let it go undone. Trying to balance out my time and spend time with my family frequently means that the dishes and laundry go undone and that there is a layer of dust on stuff. But, floors are mostly vacuumed (Roomba!) and trash goes out on Mondays, so I'm not completely crazy.
I am behind at school and I am behind at home.
I'm exhausted. Did I say that?
I know, I know. Wah wah wah. You work your job without breaks here and there. And we even get summers off, right, so what the heck am I complaining about?
I'll just say that until you (or state legistators) set foot in a classroom full time, you can never truly understand and appreciate how draining it is to interact with other people's children all day long. And then to go home to your own children who drain the rest of your energy (I don't even know how single parents who are teachers do it). When will you get to recharge your batteries? Teachers need the time away from students to do this. That's what summer is for. That's what integrated breaks are for.
I'm exhausted. I don't know if I'm going to make it to the three-day weekend coming up.