It’s the first day of summer holidays, and I am wretchedly sick. I started two nights ago with a bit of a sore throat, and now I’m fighting a chest cough that makes my pinkies hurt. Really. I’m coughing hard enough that even my phalanges are affected. The fun part is that if I cough hard enough to rattle all the mucous around in there, my voice changes. I spent a large part of my lunch out with The Electrician today sounding like Don Corleone, which was truly awesome.
As soon as school is out, the comments from non-teachers start flying about how lucky I am to have the summer months off, and how short teachers’ hours are, especially when the summer is factored in. These people are nuts. I do have the next six weeks off, but those six weeks come on the heels of a job that keeps me hopping at least 50 hours a week (and that’s the slow weeks) through the rest of the year. My school has a modified calendar, which means the summer is shorter but we have a week off in the fall and an extended spring break.
Here’s the thing: I’ve earned every minute of my vacation. I turn down many, many invitations through the school year to do fun things, like going out of town for a weekend, or seeing a movie or a concert on a weeknight, because the demands of my job mean I need to be home marking papers or prepping lessons. Being paid a set salary means that I make the same amount regardless of how hard I work, so I’m not working late or on weekends to pad my bank account. As an English teacher, I am tethered to my job during the school months, largely by the astounding amount of marking I need to accomplish, particularly at the busy times when report cards are due or major exams are approaching or must be scored. I’m not trying to complain about it, because that’s just the way it is. I’m just frustrated by the people who comment on my summer holidays with no concept of how hard I work.
I get really peeved when folks think I have a cushy “part time” job. Summer vacation really functions like banked overtime; if I swapped hour for hour the time I spend working outside the regular school day for the weekday hours I have off during the summer, the school board would still owe me some serious time.
I’m going to enjoy my time off; I’ve definitely earned it.
copyright 2011: http://bluespeckledpup.com