Time off for Teachers: Just 3 Reasons Why it is Necessary

Probably not the best time to be thinking of time off since most teachers have just started their school year, but with Labor Day week-end here time off seemed to be at the forefront of my thoughts.  Nothing frustrates me more than people who make comments about teachers getting time off. I mean comments like, "Why do teachers need a break in the summer? They only work 8 or 9 months a year"  or "Do teachers get paid for taking time off during Christmas and summer?"  What about this one, "Teachers only work from 8am - 3:30 pm. Why should they get extra time off?  Cringe, eye roll, growl.

The truth is: teachers need time off periodically to rest and recharge. People who make such uneducated comments are just that, uneducated about the life of a teacher.  They have no idea how much time and effort teachers dedicate to their careers. I refuse to call it a job. Teaching is not a job. It is a career, a life choice, a calling. If you are in it for the hours and the holidays (or the pay), you are in the wrong profession.

So, let's educate some who think time off for teachers is unnecessary.
1. What other profession requires that you bring home (or stay late) a 40% minimum of your  workload?   Teachers do. Go by a school on any given day and you will see cars in the parking lot. Teachers are there before school, after school, and on week-ends. Or sit in your car and watch teachers leave the building. They are loaded down like pack mules.  This isn't just a disguise to make people think they are actually working. They have your child's papers to grade, lessons to plan, and probably a laptop on which they will need to respond to numerous emails and update the class website.  They may even have forms ( such as IEPs), that will take hours to fill out, packed inside.

2. Does your job require that you are on call 24/7?  Teachers are on call. Parents don't just call between the hours of 8am - 3:30 pm.  Parents call at night and on week-ends. Parents call at their convenience. Whether teachers are at home fixing dinner for their family or trying to bathe the baby, parents will call.  If parents aren't calling, they are emailing.  If you don't like the calling guidelines established by your teacher or school, lighten up. Returning your email or call within 24 hours during a business week and by Monday after a week-end is acceptable and considerate.  Remember: teachers are human and have a life outside of school.

3. Does your profession require you to continually update your technology education, attend professional development, AND continue your education? Teachers in most states (if not, all) have a required number of professional development hours per year.  They are also expected to stay on the cutting edge of technology so that they can offer your child the best information possible and present lessons using the latest technology gadgets.  Lifetime teaching certificates ended over 20 years ago. Teachers are required to continue their own education to be in compliance with state regulations. This is often done at the teacher's own expense and on the teacher's own time.  So, after she hauls the bag of papers and plans to the car, she heads to school herself, where she is given homework.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Teachers don't just stand in front of a room of perfectly behaved, highly intelligent darlings for 6 hours a day. The face challenges, misconceptions, and prejudice on a daily basis. They fight for their kids and love them.  Teachers give everything they have to their students and then dredge up more, from deep within, for their families. Time off gives them a little extra time to get caught up on "school work", or sleep in, or spend with their children.

The fact is: teachers need time off and in my opinion deserve every minute of it.  Enjoy your Labor Day week-end!  This teacher is going to :)

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2 comments

  1. Well said Kim! I'd have to agree-teaching is a career, not just a job! Recharging has to be done or there will be burn out! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend :)

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